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Release | Takako Chiba

Learn everything about Ezo deer at Hokkaido Museum


When we live in Hokkaido, we feel Ezo deer is a common wild animal that we encounter in everyday life. If it were a tourist, the encounter with Ezo deer would become a special memory. However, what kind of animal is Ezo deer-like? Where do they live? Is it true that the number of Ezo deer is causing trouble? Hokkaido Museum is holding a special exhibition that you can learn everything about Ezo deer. Learn about Ezo deer in this opportunity!


Table of Contents

- Hokkaido Museum’s special exhibition “Ezo deer” 
- About a wild animal Ezo deer
- The history of human and Ezo deer, relationships with Hokkaido, conversation with Kiyotaka Kuroda and Horace Capron
- Get in a trap like you become a deer while you think about measures against them
- Ezo deer-related events and a stamp rally


Hokkaido Museum’s special exhibition “Ezo deer” 

Hokkaido Museum is hosting the 15th special exhibition “Ezo deer” from October 12, 2019, to December 15, 2019. 

北海道博物館外観▲Hokkaido Museum

People in Hokkaido might think, “why Ezo deer now?”
A brown bear appeared in Sapporo City in 2019 and became huge news. Medias talked about a lot because it was a brown bear, but how about Ezo deer? 
Tourists from outside of Hokkaido would consider the encounter with Ezo deer as a great memory. On the other hand, aren’t we, people who live in Hokkaido, too used to Ezo deer because they appear so often?

北海道博物館自然研究グループ学芸主幹 水島未記さん▲Maki Mizushima, the chief of arts at a nature study group in Hokkaido Museum, explained about the special exhibition “Ezo deer.” 

The number of Ezo deer increased in east Hokkaido, and it seemed like the number went down now. However, the number increased suddenly in the central Hokkaido in the past few years. 
It shows Ezo deer which lived in east Hokkaido, moved to the west, and she worries that Sapporo might be so much in trouble soon. 
When Ezo deer become common, media won’t talk about it, and people in Hokkaido get used to them. In fact, that is the most dangerous situation. 
People can learn about Ezo deer as a wild animal, the history of Hokkaido with Ezo deer, its relationships, and the current situation of Ezo deer at the special exhibition “Ezo deer.” 
Let’s think about Ezo deer deeply, as we and Ezo deer are the same residents of Hokkaido. 


About a wild animal Ezo deer

The special exhibition, “Ezo deer,” is divided into three parts: 
Part1: Learn everything about Ezo deer! 
Part2: History of human and Ezo deer; how many years is it? 
Part3: We gotta do it! Measures against Ezo deer


エゾシカの雌雄、子どものはく製と骨格標本▲Stuffed male, female, and child of Ezo deer and skeletal specimen. 

In the Part1, you can learn about different species of deer and characteristics as an animal with stuffed animals and specimens. 

北海道博物館 博物館研究グループ学芸員 鈴木あすみさん▲Asumi Suzuki, the curator of the museum study group in the Hokkaido Museum. 

エゾシカ展で触れる角▲Some exhibits allow visitors to touch. 

エゾシカの骨格標本▲This skeletal specimen shows that Ezo deer is focused on running fast. “This specimen is very neat. You can see that deer stands on tiptoe.” Suzuki says.  

Horns of deer fall out every year. The new horns slightly have hairs on the surface. This small part is also exhibited in the exhibition. 
According to Suzuki, it is very rare to see new horns. Visit the museum to see the real horns. 

The history of human and Ezo deer, relationships with Hokkaido, conversation with Kiyotaka Kuroda and Horace Capron

In the Part2, they exhibit many resources and old documents about the history of human with Ezo deer and its relationships with Hokkaido. 


北海道博物館 歴史研究グループ学芸主査 山田伸一さん▲Shinichi Yamada, the leader of the history study group in the Hokkaido Museum. 

I discovered place names that came from the Ainu language that relates to deer. It makes me want to talk about it to someone. 
Also, documents from the Meiji Era about different attitudes towards deer between Kaitakushi and Ainu people were very interesting. 
For example, deer hunting was a huge trend during the development period of Hokkaido. Kaitakushi assumed that deer would be a resource and also an industry, so they set a few rules about deer hunting. 
The rule was revolutionary at that time: 
- No poisonous arrow to hunt deer
- Decide hunting periods
- Require hunting licenses 


However, Ainu people, who lived in Hokkaido for a long time, used poisonous arrows for hunting deer. 
Kiyotaka Kuroda, who was in charge of the colonization of Hokkaido, consulted to Horace Capron, the advisor of Kaitakushi. According to the record, Capron told him to prohibit poisonous arrows because they are savage. 
By the way, bronze statues of them stand next to each other in the 10-Chome of Odori Park in Sapporo.

大通公園10丁目にある黒田清隆(左)とホーレス・ケプロンの像▲Bronze statues of Kiyotaka Kuroda (left) and Horace Capron stands at 10-Chome of Odori Park. 

They also exhibit the petition from Ainu people in Saru, who were against the deer hunting rules. Ainu people thought it was too sudden and requested to postpone. 
Many discussions and controversies regarding deer existed from a long time ago in Hokkaido. 


Get in a trap like you become a deer while you think about measures against them

In Hokkaido, the too large number of deer is causing many troubles. For example, there are damages to agriculture, and the number of accidents with deer and cars or trains has increased. 
However, the exhibit reveals that Ezo deer was once in danger of extinction because of excessive hunting and massive snowstorm during the Meiji Period. 

北海道博物館 自然研究グループ学芸員 表渓太さん▲Keita Omote, the curator of the nature study group in the Hokkaido Museum. 

They give information about measures against deer in Hokkaido and practical uses of deer in the Part3. 

シカ捕獲用の「小型囲い罠」▲The actual “small corral trap” to hunt deer. 

They also exhibit actual traps and electric fences that are commonly called “deer killers,” which sounds scary. 
One of the exhibitions includes the so-called “small corral trap,” a trap to hunt deer, and people can get inside to experience how deers see the traps. 

シカ捕獲用の「小型囲い罠」内部▲Inside of the trap. 

シカ捕獲用の「小型囲い罠」内部に人が入った様子▲It looks like this when a person is in it. I might be able to imagine how deer feel. 

The ways to effectively use deer are increasing. Such as crafts using deerskin and eating venison. 
We, who usually live, can’t actually do anything to Ezo deer that appear in many different places. However, we should not get used to Ezo deer. We should divide our places to live in. We both live in the same land Hokkaido. We should always think about what we can do and what we should do about this problem. 


Ezo deer related events and a stamp rally

Hokkaido Museum hosts various lectures and events about Ezo deer during the period of the 15th special exhibition “Ezo Deer.” 
They are also planning to have a stamp rally to visit around restaurants that provide venison. 
Check out details at the official website of Hokkaido Museum

Hokkaido Museum 15th special exhibition “Ezo Deer” 

Period: October 12, 2019 to December 15, 2019
Closed day: Mondays (Open on November 4), October 15, November 5
Hours: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Venue: Hokkaido Museum Special Exhibition Hall
Admission: Free
* Check out other details at Hokkaido Museum’s website

Related Link

- Hokkaido Museum
  • Learn everything about Ezo deer at Hokkaido Museum

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Takako Chiba