Monkeys treat biopark's water lily garden as buffet(スイレン食害『困ったモンだ』 土湯・照南湖ビオパーク)

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Japanese monkeys eat water lily stalks lakeside at Shonanko biopark in Tsuchiyu Onsen-machi, Fukushima City.(スイレンの葉の柄を食べるニホンザル=福島市土湯温泉町・照南湖ビオパーク)

 Water lilies in the Shonanko biopark in Tsuchiyu Onsen-machi, Fukushima city, have suffered serious damage at the hands of a troop of Japanese monkeys that has appeared at the lakeside. The monkeys remove water lilies from their stems and eat the leaves and other parts.
 The Tsuchiyu Onsen Tourism Association said that damage to the plants from the monkeys has been observed since last year. It took measures to chase them out, but to little practical effect so far.

 湖面を彩るスイレンが見ごろを迎えている福島市土湯温泉町の照南(しょうなん)湖ビオパークにニホンザルの群れが出没し、スイレンの葉を柄ごとむしり取り、食べてしまう被害が問題になっている。土湯温泉観光協会によるとサルによる被害は昨年から出始め、追い払うなど対策も取ったが効果は出ていないという。

 According to the tourism association and other entities, there are up to about 50 monkeys in the troop and they are often seen stretching their arms out from the lakeside or even wading into the lake to take the leaves of water lilies that have begun to bloom.

 同協会などによると、サルの群れは多いときには約50匹にも上り、群れ単位で湖岸から手を伸ばしたり、水の中に入るなどして花を咲かせ始めたスイレンの葉を取って食べる姿が度々目撃されているという。

 The lake is located along a former route of National Highway Route 115. What is now the lake had been a Fukushima prefectural-run skating rink until about 50 years ago. The tourism association and other organizations made efforts to improve the lakeside such as by planting young water lily plants there. In recent years, the plants have produced flowers with brilliant colors, including red, pink, white and yellow. The lake has become a popular spot for photographers.

 国道115号の旧道沿いにある照南湖は、土湯温泉街周辺の観光名所の一つ。土湯温泉観光協会が中心となってスイレンの苗を植えるなど整備に取り組んできた。近年は、赤やピンク、白、黄など色鮮やかな花を咲かせ、写真愛好家の人気の撮影スポットにもなっている。

 Although the association set off fireworks to try to drive the monkeys away, they soon reappear, and the association has not found a way to solve this, it said.

 昨年春からサルが群れでスイレンの葉を食べる様子が目撃されるようになり、同協会では花火を使って追い払うなど対策を取ったものの、時間が過ぎるとすぐにまた現れてしまい打つ手がないという。

 Monkeys come out one after another when people depart from near the lake, and then reach out to pluck the leaves and stems together, sometimes eating them from the stem side, rather than the leaf side.
 Most of the damage is seen mainly in the area near the shore, but since some of the monkeys venture into the water, even the water lilies in the central parts of the lake are not safe.

 多いときには50匹にも上るサルの群れは、湖付近に人影が少なくなると次々と森から現れ、岸から大きく手を伸ばして葉を柄ごとむしり取り、柄側から食べていく。そのため被害の多くは湖の周辺部だが、中には、水の中にまで入って食べるサルもいるため、中心部のスイレンについても安心はできない状態だ。

 Kazuya Ikeda, 60, secretary general of the association, said: "Considering the scenic beauty, we cannot take steps to put up electric wires, which are used to keep boars away. All we can do is periodically shoot off fireworks."

( Translated by The Japan News )

 同協会の池田和也事務局長(60)は「景観を考えれば、イノシシ対策のように電線を張ることもできない。定期的に花火を打ち上げるなどして対応していくしかない」と話した。

 【 2018年5月24日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】