Now Benny and I have always been suspicious of claims that violent video games spawn violent children. In fact, after zoology, few things are closer to our hearts than violent video games. However in a cruel twist of fate, it appears globalization has pitted our passions against one another.
This does look fun…
A new video game, (Mushiking) Insect King, has taken Japan by storm. In the game, which is targeted to young children, competitors fight one another with digital stag beetles. Sounds fun right? Well as with many Japanese obsessions, things have been taken a step too far. Excitement for the digital critters has translated to excitement for the real thing and stag beetle imports into Japan have soared. Close to 1,000,000 beetles are currently being imported per year.
The new Hello Kitty?
Most worrisome, a rare species of stag beetle located in the Amanos Mountains of southern Turkey, Lucanus cervus akbesianus, prized by collectors, is being dangerously over collected. German and Turkish poachers, posing as scientific researchers, search the sunbaked hills and encourage locals to collect the beetles on their behalf. The beetles fetch up to 40,000 Yen in Japan ($170 USD) and the high price only encourages demand.
Chairman of the Amanos Environmental Protection Association, Nazim Sonmez, explained the situation to the Times Online, “We underlined that people under researcher identity came to this region and they sent these beetles abroad, made them [be] collected by local people and bought each beetle for 5 to 30 lira (2p-13p).”
“We are watching with great sorrow a struggle between the Japanese and the Germans and all we want to do is end the trade in our stag beetles. These stag beetles are significant as they have six antennae instead of four. They are being collected for economic reasons rather than research purposes. The stag beetle is under threat of extinction. It must be stopped.”