Hunter develops ghostly light that scares away wild animals

September 24, 2013

By TAIJI ITO/ Staff Writer

TENDO, Yamagata Prefecture--After a half-century of tracking and luring in wild animals, a hunter here has developed a blinking light source designed to repel them and keep them from encroaching on farmland and residential areas.

The device consists of six light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs of three colors--red, blue and green.

“Animals fear it and run away. They are probably feeling that a ghost with six eyes is staring at them,” said the developer, Yasuhisa Endo, 70, a former construction company employee, who belongs to the Tendo hunting association and describes himself as a master bear hunter.

He is now verifying the effects of the light by testing it on a path near a residential area frequently traveled by wild animals.

The invention is based on Endo's experiences with his pet and other animals. When he was walking his dog, he noticed that it was spooked by the safety lights installed at construction sites. He also found that other animals reacted the same.

Endo, who has built up his knowledge on wild animals through 50 years of hunting, believes the safety lights resemble a monstrous creature to animals. The assumption led him to hit upon the idea of developing a light source to keep wild animals out of farmland and residential areas.

In order to heighten its effects, he increased the number of LEDs in the device to six. In addition, he studied colors that repel animals.

When he turned the light source toward various animals, they immediately fled. In July, he started testing the device by installing it near a municipal graveyard in a suburb.

The light was installed at a height of one meter on a path frequented by wild animals that crosses a forest road. The six LEDs, powered by a battery that are rechargeable by sunlight, blink at night. To wild animals passing along the path in the dark, the device resembles a six-eyed creature.

Two months have passed since the light was installed.

“I hear that neither bears nor monkeys appear near the graveyard anymore,” Endo said.

In recent years, damage caused to agricultural crops by wild animals has become a widespread problem across Japan. In response, various devices have been developed to keep wild animals at bay.

Hiroto Enari, an associate professor of agriculture at Yamagata University, who is well versed in the behavior of wild animals, said, “The deterrent effects of those devices do not last long unless they cause pain to animals, like electrified fences.”

However, Endo expressed confidence in his invention, saying, “The blinking three colors of my device will make animals dizzy.”

Endo started hunting in his 20s alongside a veteran hunter to obtain the sources of protein that were highly valued in those days. In some bountiful periods, he bagged as many as 30 bears a year.

About 30 years ago, Endo developed a portable box-type trap to capture bears. The trap is still used in some areas, including Nagano Prefecture.

Most of the bears captured in the trap are deemed dangerous and killed. However, some groups criticize the trap as inflicting pain on animals. Therefore, Endo developed his light repellent device.

“I will be satisfied if the light makes it possible for humans and animals to live in separate areas,” he said.

The device is being sold for 3,980 yen (about $40) per unit by Hanadate Sangyo in Yamagata.

By TAIJI ITO/ Staff Writer
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A light developed by Yasuhisa Endo to spook wild animals consists of six LEDs of three colors. (Provided by Yasuhisa Endo)

A light developed by Yasuhisa Endo to spook wild animals consists of six LEDs of three colors. (Provided by Yasuhisa Endo)

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  • A light developed by Yasuhisa Endo to spook wild animals consists of six LEDs of three colors. (Provided by Yasuhisa Endo)
  • Yasuhisa Endo tests the effect of his light in Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture, on Aug. 28. The light has been installed on a path that wild animals often use. (Taiji Ito)

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