Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Arctic Research

Exploring Strategies for Coexistence between Indigenous Siberians and Wildlife

A practical study on an adaptive wildlife management system for utilization and protection of wild animals and birds

To reduce conflicts between local communities and wildlife (e.g., agricultural damage and invasive species problems), we plan and implement surveys and countermeasures with the participation and initiative of local residents, and provide bottom-up policy support. In recent years, we have also been involved in the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries to protect the livelihoods of indigenous people in Siberia.

Content of research

◇ Survey of reindeer and other wild animals and establishment of protected areas
In the Arctic region of the Republic of Sakha in the Russian Federation, which is the closest Arctic area to Japan, we have attached satellite transmitters to wild animals (e.g., reindeer, musk ox, wolf) used by indigenous people to clarify the effects of global warming and seasonal migration. Based on this information, we are working with indigenous groups, local governments, hunting groups and other parties to establish and evaluate protected areas and hunting areas that contribute to traditional livelihoods.
◇ Survey of Migratory Birds in Japan and Evaluation of International Protected Areas
Siberia is an important breeding ground for migratory birds that use the arctic and other northern regions, including Japan, but their habitats are changing due to global warming. Therefore, we are conducting surveys, research, and practical applications to comprehensively evaluate the impact of global warming on habitat protection areas by creating a network of different surveys that have been conducted in individual countries.

  • Wild tundra reindeer under study in the Republic of Sakha

  • Polar bears facing increasing conflict with indigenous people (Sakha, courtesy of IBPC)

  • Use of survey data for environmental education of local children (Sakha)

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Information on the habitats of arctic wild animals (e.g., reindeer and polar bears), which are of great interest in Japan, can be used not only to set environmental policy, but also as living teaching tools for environmental education.

Appealing points to industry and local governments

Although Siberia is in the arctic area closest to Japan, little is known in Japan about the current situation of the indigenous people and flora and fauna of the region. These latest data and information can be used as materials for environmental studies and social contribution.