Dating back to the 1880s, it was even seen in Tokyo. [14] Dr. Machida also pointed that the previous studies by the prefecture had been restricted only among coastal areas and thus not filling the definition of extinct species by IUCN. "Police have initiated an investigation to uncover the connection of mafia or swindlers in this importing operation," the undercover investigator said in the documentary. Japanese River Otter Appearance. Japan attracts almost thirty million visitors a year. The name for the Japanese river otter was then changed from L. l. whiteleyi to Lutra nippon. In 2017, two females and one male otter were confirmed there. Japan hosts at least one free-roaming river otter, but it’s not likely the country’s endemic variety, which was last documented decades ago and has been “officially” extinct since 2012. The art island of Naoshima is a small, formerly remote island that has become one of the world’s most noteworthy art destinations. But in Japan, where more than a dozen animal cafes now feature otters… Ask any of these cafes and they will claim that their otters are legally bred and bought in Japan. They would then venture on their own, but continue in solitude unless ready to mate. Sea otters have about 26,000 to 165,000 hairs per square centimeters of skin, a rich fur for which humans hunted them almost to extinction. People in Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, and elsewhere can pay thousands of … Many of these Japanese otters eat about 15% to 25% of their own body weight. Starting in the Meiji period, the government of Japan adopted a policy of increasing wealth and military prowess. Group Bull. The otters were always on the move, visiting each den only once every three to four days. Japan hosts at least one free-roaming river otter, but it’s not likely the country’s endemic variety, which was last documented decades ago and has been “officially” extinct since 2012. Regarding this, a survey was conducted by Ehime Prefecture in 2014, noting several recent sightings. In Japan, where more than a dozen animal cafes have otters, investigators found otters whimpering, shrieking and making distress calls while customers played with them. Such areas included coastal areas in Susaki, areas along the Niyodo River running through Sakawacho and Inocho, and coastal areas along Shimanto River. The otter features in an ancient shamanic Welsh tale. [7], The Japanese river otter was used as medicine to help cure tuberculosis. There are 12 species of otters, (13 until the Japanese river otter was declared extinct in only 2012), found all over the world except Australia and Antarctica. In Japanese, they are called “kawauso” . This is Harry Zoo, an incredibly cute animal cafe in the heart of the Harajuku district in Tokyo. In Japanese folklore Otters were considered very dangerous as they would shapeshift into beautiful women or little children and kill men. [10], In general, the Japanese river otter was ready to reproduce when they were two to three years old. Native otters are hunted for their fur and are often regulated in this category. Once born, the baby otters are completely blind for a month, leaving them utterly helpless. [6], Several genetic studies have suggested that the Japanese river otter should be treated as a distinct species Lutra nippon rather than a subspecies of Lutra lutra. [9] The otter had a lifespan of up to 25 years. Animal pelts thus became very valuable since they could be exported for money. They are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Play with cute little otters in Tokyo! [35], In an Ainu folktale, in Urashibetsu (in Abashiri, Hokkaido), there are stories where monster otters shapeshift into humans, go into homes where there are beautiful girls, and try to kill the girl and make her its wife. A good place to start checking for information on pet otter laws is under ‘fur-bearing’ terms. The Japanese river otter (Lutra lutra whiteleyi) was a semi-aquatic carnivore otter that used to inhabit the rivers of Japan, and was distributed in Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu until the 1920s. Find more Japanese words at wordhippo.com! As a result, Japanese river otters started to be hunted throughout the country. Tokyo, Japan, 19th October 2018—a boom in demand for otters as pets in japan, particularly the Small-clawed Otter, has been linked to rising numbers of “otter cafés”, high-profile television programmes featuring otters and celebrities, and the popularity of otter pet “superstars” on social media platforms. In China and Japan , there are stories where otters would shapeshift into beautiful women in old books like In Search of the Supernatural and the Zhenyizhi. The population suddenly shrank in the 1930s, and the mammal nearly vanished. [28], In the town of Numatachi, Asa District, Hiroshima Prefecture (now Hiroshima), they are called "tomo no kawauso" (伴のカワウソ) and "ato no kawauso" (阿戸のカワウソ). [17] There are 12 species of otters, (13 until the Japanese river otter was declared extinct in only 2012), found all over the world except Australia and Antarctica. In the wild, they feed on mostly invertebrates and occasionally frogs. However, where have the otters come from, when Japanese river otters have been extinct since 40 years ago? [5], A nocturnal creature, an otter only left its den after dark to forage for food. çº). Out of 59 otters … Japanese fan finds otters in the rain. Situation of Pet Otters in Japan – Warning by Vets. 1). Tokyo, Japan, 19th October 2018—a boom in demand for otters as pets in Japan, particularly the Small-clawed Otter, has been linked to rising numbers of “otter cafés”, high-profile television programmes featuring otters and celebrities, and the popularity of otter pet “superstars” on social media platforms. Jul 30, 2020. This pollution terminated their food sources in the rivers, causing them to hunt in more dangerous settings. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is the only truly marine otter found in Asia and used to be found on the coast of Japan. For the male to know that the female is interested in mating, the female will roll around with the male, which releases hormones. The aquarium will exhibit photos of Rasuka in its sea otter tank area until Sept. 27, with visitors allowed to lay flowers. The European otter has been here for millions of years; it is a member of the Mustelid family, which also includes the badger, mink, weasels, stoats, martens and polecats, and is the only truly semi-aquatic member of the weasel family. Otter Facts and Information. They have squirrels, chinchillas and hedgehogs but I specifically came here for their adorable little otters. After the shedding of the under fur, the otter shed their guard hair from August to November. Since then, it has only been spotted several times, in 1964 in the Seto Inland Sea, and in the Uwa Sea in 1972 and 1973. Tokyo, Japan, 19th October 2018—a boom in demand for otters as pets in japan, particularly the Small-clawed Otter, has been linked to rising numbers of “otter cafés”, high-profile television programmes featuring otters and celebrities, and the popularity of otter pet “superstars” on social media platforms. Otters are a popular animal in Japanese folklore where they are called “kawauso“. Melissa A Smith. World Animal Protection believes the otter trade in Japan has ties to Yakuza, an organized crime network in Japan. Each animal at these otter cafes is suffering for the sake of entertainment. Would it require witchcraft for an otter to stay alive like that? In Japan, there are more than a dozen animal cafes featuring otters. However, it is not known whether the observed otter was a Japanese river otter. Since a TV program in Japan in 2014, the popularity of otters has spiked leading to a boom in the number of otter cafes. 37(2) 2020 - 71 - A R T I C L E THE SITUATION OF PET OTTERS IN JAPAN – WARNING BY VETS Yumiko OKAMOTO1*, Naoki MAEDA2, Masakazu HIRABAYASHI3, Natsumi ICHINOHE4 1 Hsinchu Zoo: 279, Kung-Yung Rd, Hsinchu City, Taiwan 300 2 Maeda Animal Hospital: 9-12, 2-Chome, Matsushita, Inazawa City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan 4928208 3 All Pet Clinic: … In Japanese folklore, they fool humans in the same way as foxes (kitsune) and tanuki. [28] In places like the Hokuriku region, Kii, and Shikoku, the otters are seen as a type of kappa. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. In a new documentary, British environmentalist and photojournalist Aaron Gekoski worked with World Animal Protection, an international nonprofit organization, to investigate the state of these animals. [32] They are also said to shapeshift into severed heads and get caught in fishing nets. For other uses, see, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation", "Building large trees by combining phylogenetic information: a complete phylogeny of the extant Carnivora (Mammalia)", "Sea Otter â€“ Enhydra lutris â€“ facts, video, and sound", "Otter Hunting AKA Otter Hunting Begins – British Pathé", "Fishing with Otters: a Traditional Conservation Practice in Bangladesh", "Native American Indian Otter Legends, Meaning and Symbolism from the Myths of Many Tribes", https://mocomi.com/jataka-tales-the-otters-and-the-wolf/, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Otter&oldid=991141178#Japanese_folklore, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles containing Old English (ca. Between less than 1 percent and 1.5% of the population claims Christian belief or affiliation. Naoshima and Teshima: Art and architecture in the Inland Sea. They are sometimes found in northern Hokkaido (Japan) having strayed down from the nearby Russian Kuril islands. Web. Problems. Sushi comes in many forms. While it all involves rice prepared with sushi vinegar, it doesn’t all include raw fish. Like most otters, the Japanese river otter was not an especially picky eater. Classed as “Endangered”. The female otter makes for a great mother; nursing her young for up to eight hours a day, as well as teaching them valuable lessons and protecting them. While it primarily fed on fish, crab, and shrimp; it also ate eels, beetles, watermelons, and sweet potatoes. Japan has an abundance of natural wonders. Bishan otters appear on Japanese TV show The Bishan otters made their on-screen appearance on a Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) variety show called "Quiz! Thank you for watching my channel!! [15], In February 2017, a wild otter was filmed alive on Tsushima Island in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. In 1929, the government established the "Hunters Association" which called upon people to hunt and skin these otters, which was one of the main causes of their eventual extinction. In addition the river otter has two types/sets of fur. However, the distribution of otters in Japan was fragmented into several small isolated populations located all over Japan, and they had almost all disappeared by the mid1950s (Sasaki 2016).Otters went extinct in most of Japan between 1955 and 1960, except on Shikoku Island (Ando 2008, Fig. [12] Even so, pollution and human development then harmed their environment and resources to build their habitats. Like all river otters, they have long, thin bodies which helped them to swim and glide through the water at speeds of up to seven miles per hour. Christianity in Japan is among the nation's minority religions. "[27][28] There are darker stories, such as one from Kaga Province (now Ishikawa Prefecture) in which an otter that lives in the castle's moat shapeshifts into a woman, invites males, and then kills and eats them. It is distributed from the Kuril Islands located in Japan, to the Commander islands of the in the Western Pacific. But currently, only six sea otters are being raised at four aquariums. [ALSO READ: … Unfortunately, this fad has lead to the illegal smuggling of otters into Japan. [29], In the kaidan, essays, and legends of the Edo period like the "Urami Kanawa" (裏見寒話),[30] "Taihei Hyaku Monogatari" (太平百物語), and the "Shifu Goroku" (四不語録), there are tales about strange occurrences like otters that shapeshift into beautiful women and kill men. [34] In the KagakushÅ«, a dictionary from the Muromachi period, an otter that grew old becomes a kappa. July 30, 2014 araho. After an analysis of a cross-section of the hair, the researchers determined that it came from an otter. Some are kept in solitary conditions with no natural light. Since a TV program in Japan in 2014, the popularity of otters has spiked leading to a boom in the number of otter cafes. After the pups are around the age of four months, the mother otter will introduce her youth to solid food and start to teach them how to hunt.[11]. [2] On August 28, 2012, the Japanese river otter was officially declared extinct by the Ministry of the Environment. Poached to the brink of extinction Because of these cafes and images of pet otters on social media, wild otters are being hunted and trafficked out of existence to satisfy growing international demand. Throughout the 1990s, there were several attempts to locate a surviving Japanese river otter. By comparing the Mitochondrial Cytochrome b Gene of a mummified Japanese river otter corpse with Eurasian otters from Latvia and China, it was proven that the Japanese river otter was actually different, and was therefore not a subspecies. In Japan's never ending quest to create the most unconventional cafes, a shop in the trendy Harajuku district of Tokyo is pushing the boundaries by introducing a trio of small-clawed otters for their pet-loving customers. ", http://www.otter-world.com/otter-reproduction/, "Japanese River Otter Declared Extinct After Three Decades", "Wild otter filmed alive in first Japan sighting since 1979", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Japanese_river_otter&oldid=981484396, Articles containing Japanese-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 2 October 2020, at 16:06. Ask any of these cafes and they will claim that their otters are legally bred and bought in Japan. This allowed them to adjust to the seasons changing. Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and mars… If she does not, the male would move onto the next female otter. Besides during reproduction and with the exception of young males staying with their mother for a range of two to three years until they were mature, female otters and male otters did not generally live together. Our daily life channel update are on every day! Video shows the otters lounging and … Yoshihiro Kataoka, 72, who published a photobook of sea otters around the cape, speculates that sea otters in the Northern Territories — as Japan calls four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido that Tokyo claims — have expanded their habitat and since been witnessed in Hamanaka. Otters were widely distributed in Japan until the early 20th century. Another relatively popular pet fad in Japan is the practice of keeping otters as pets. In the past, there were thousands of river otters in Japan. Awaken slowly on your high fibreglass kayak (or on a stand-up paddle board, if you prefer) to the morning mew of the playful otters near the calm, kelpy waters. 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