Many areas in Japan are dealing with an exponential rise in the numbers of non-native species of animals, fishes and reptiles, forcing the country to resort to an innovative way of population check - munch on them!
Local residents in some of the prefectures which are witnessing a rise in numbers of certain species have been encouraged to develop a taste for it, literally. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Chiba to the east of Tokyo is now actively cooking snapping turtles as it apparently knows of no other way to check on their booming population. It is reported that these turtles were initially brought to the country to be kept as pets but many of them were turned out because of their large size at adulthood. The snapping turtles adapted quickly to the local conditions and thrived to unmanageable numbers. Local officials are now encouraging chefs from around the country to come up with creative and tasty recipes to ensure the turtles become a culinary delight.
Over in Hokkaido, a fisheries cooperative has begun selling crayfish which were first brought here from the US. The crayfish, initially used for recreational fishing, thrived in Japanese conditions and numbers swelled uncontrollably. Feasting on them now appears the only way of ensuring the rapid rate of breeding is kept in check.
Not all species which are multiplying quickly, however, have found a place on the Japanese dish. Fire ants, racoons and anole lizards are some other species of insects, animals and reptiles which pose a risk due to their large numbers but the Japanese are not saying 'Bon Appétit' just yet.