The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

NPO Picchio

Clarifying the situation of Asian black bear populations spread across multiple prefectures and building conservation management system for broad areas

Activity grant

Project Description

As Asian black bears live in forests and cover broad areas without sticking to specific territories, the number of habitats in Japan is unclear, and NPOs, universities and other organizations are looking to broadly survey and clarify the specific situations of populations that inhabit areas that transcend administrative boundaries. In order to build an appropriate conservation management framework, this project will involve the following research:
(1) Establish a hair-trap to collect the fur of wild animal species as a method to estimate population sizes
(2) Attach GPS trackers to captured individuals in order to understand precise movements
(3) Confirm breeding conditions, including number of births
(4) Provide information on bear behaviour to local communities
(5)Provide opportunities for university students and others to participate in actual bear research, cultivating individuals and developing an educational program.
It is hoped that these activities will clarify Asian black bear numbers and behaviour, and that providing local communities with information will provide a foundation for reaching a consensus on measures for handling them and lead to the creation of a conservation management framework for widespread areas.

Preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2010 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
October 2010 - September 2013
Grant amount
8,390,000 yen
Activity region
Karuizawa and neighbouring areas (Mt. Asama region), Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Surveying movement using GPS tracking devices attached to bears

Overview of the Organization

Shinya Kuwata, Director
Shinya Kuwata, Director
Establishment purpose
NPO Picchio was established to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society by conserving ecosystems, implementing research and conservation management initiatives for wild plants and animals, and promoting and raising awareness of conservation issues among children and adults alike.
Main areas of activity
Nagano Prefecture's Toshin region and the western part of Gunma Prefecture, Japan
4 full-time staff members, 100 full members
Annual operating budget
31.40 million yen in 2007, 23.96 million yen in 2008, 16.92 million yen in 2009
WEB site
Recent activities
1. Non-profit activities
  • (1) Conservation initiatives and management for wild plants and animals
  • (2) Reseach into wild plants and animals
  • (3) Environmental conservation
  • (4) Conserving ecosystems in the area around Mt. Asama
  • (5) Commissioned work involving (1)-(4) from public agencies and private companies
  • (6) Making conservation policy recommendations to public agencies
  • (7) Providing conservation-related consulting services to private companies
2. Other activities
  • (1) Writing on the subject of wild plants and animals
  • (2) Holding seminars on wild plants and animals