Written by Kristoffer Nordli, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
By the financial support I received from the International Research School in Applied Ecology (IRSAE) and Erasmus+ (Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility), I could realize my internship as a part of my master education in Applied Ecology at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. I traveled abroad to Japan, to acquire and share knowledge with scientific community at Tokyo University of Agriculture and the Japanese Black Bear Project. My main objective with my exchange was to assist in live trapping of Japanese Black Bears and conducting follow-up studies related to marked individuals. Under supervision and research guidance by Professor Koji Yamazaki at Tokyo University of Agriculture my main responsibilities were to assist in trap management and biomedical procedures such as anesthesia and physiological sampling.
Besides capturing wild bears, I also worked with numerous related topics to conservation and management of Japanese Black Bears during my stay. Such as experimental studies and biomedical procedures on captive bears in a controlled environment in northern Japan, Akita. Capturing and relocating “problem bears” in Nagano together with the research group at Shinshu University. Assessing crop damage and farmers loss to agricultural raiding bears, and conducting capture mark recapture studies on Shikoku islands, to asses bear density in an endangered bear population.
During my stay I have learned a lot about conservation and management on Japanese black bears and their environment, about the Japanese people, technology, trains that come one time, pop-culture, new food, and last but not least a great deal about myself. My internship lasted for 3 months, and leaving one of Norway’s more rural corners, and the next day dumping down in one of the world biggest cities was quite the culture shock for me. I spent about half of the time at various field stations, and second half at the university in the heart of Tokyo city. AND It was magnificent!
I realize how good and important this experience was for me personally. I feel privileged to be granted the opportunity, and be a part of this collaboration between the involved universities and organizations. Making the decision to do this internship has been one of my best decisions in a long time, if ever.
Speaking from my own experience I encourage everyone that wants to make a study abroad somewhere to do it, it will be exciting, challenging, fun, a bit scary, but most important it will broaden your perspective and you will make a lot of new friends. I would like to thank both IRSAE and Erasmus+ for their contribution and enabeling me to travel to Japan.