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Poachers damage forest in quest for grubs, goldbug

Date Posted: 2008-04-16

Only five minutes off the path and into the Kunigami Forest, evidence of poachers’ presence is quickly spotted; trees are marred by manmade ladders aiding the thieves to get at the grubs and Yambal long hand goldbugs burrowed inside the tree trunks.
The Yambal long hand goldbug is a designated national monument in Japan, and resides in the forest in what’s supposed to be a designated sanctuary area. Poachers ignore the notices, hacking at trees to get at the goldbug, a beetle that lives in only a few limited places in the forest. The goldbug, with its special long font legs, lives deep inside the hollows of trees.
Poachers have been extracting them, along with grubs, to later sell. A shortage of forestry officials, coupled with the vast forest areas, permit the poachers to do their deeds with virtual impunity. When confronted by patrols, they simply insist they’re not poaching the goldbugs, but are “taking stag beetles because they’re not designated for protection.”

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