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Photo by jasperdoest | Two Japanese macaques couple up in the mountains of Shodoshima Island. Over the past decades Japan has slowly but gradually replaced its deciduous forest with pine tree forest for the purpose of timber logging. Timber forest provides less nutrition than deciduous forest, a change that impacts the entire ecosystem. This leaves no other option for animals to look for other possible food sources. With the aging human population and many people of the younger generation moving to the cities in search of career opportunities, the empty rural areas provide just what the animals need—an accessible food source. Wild boar, monkeys, bears, and deer raiding crops have been the main cause of a growing human-wildlife conflict in rural Japan. For more on this story, see the March issue of the magazine, and follow me jasperdoest as I explore the complex human relationship with these Japanese macaques.

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