Picture scroll depicting coexistence with brown bears displayed at Asahiyama Zoo

Picture book author Akashi Nobuko (left) and Shiretoko Nature Foundation staff working on the picture scroll to be displayed in the Ezo Higuma Hall

A picture scroll depicting Shiretoko, where brown bears and humans live closely together, will be exhibited in the Ezo Higuma (brown bear) Hall, a large-scale exhibition facility that will open at Asahiyama Zoo (Asahikawa) on April 29. The Shiretoko Nature Foundation and picture book author Akashi Nobuko, who lives near the zoo, were involved in the production of the scroll, which introduces issues involved in the coexistence of humans and brown bears, through pictures with a gentle touch.

 The Shiretoko Nature Foundation has an agreement with Asahiyama Zoo and, based on that agreement, requested the creation of a Shiretoko-themed exhibit. The foundation requested the cooperation of Akashi, who has produced a picture book about the Shiretoko brown bears. While introducing the ecology of brown bears, the picture scroll depicts the issues that Shiretoko faces regards humans and brown bears, and work on the picture scroll began at the end of January.

 The scroll introduces brown bears living in the abundant nature of Shiretoko. It depicts a photographer approaching a mother bear raising her cubs, in order to take a photo; and a bear that is accustomed to humans, approaching a house. The scroll also includes warning speech bubbles that read “Do not feed the bears,” and scenes in which a residential area is surrounded by an electric fence, and a nature guide giving a pre-tour lecture.
In addition to the picture scroll, a full-scale model of a hibernation den in which brown bears hibernate for the winter, dolls that give visitors a sense of the size of the cubs, and panels explaining the process of their growth, are also on display.

“The issue of coexistence with wild animals is not limited to Shiretoko. We want to convey to tourists from all over the country that this is not a black-and-white issue of just living closely together,” said Akashi.


Asahiyama Zoo