Japan’s ‘ghost’ wolves

by William Park

“When I first heard the howl 50 years ago, I had told many people that I believed it was the wolf...”

A wolf that went extinct 100 years ago is thought by amateur researchers to still roam Japan's forests. When you look at some of the evidence, it's hard not to be convinced.

Locals report sightings and howling, discoveries of supposed wolf bones, droppings and fur, and most recently video footage. If they're not wolves, there's certainly something spooky going on.

I've been obsessed with this story for BBC Future for a few weeks now, not least because the photos taken by one of the amateur researchers, Hiroshi Yagi, are thoroughly compelling. Take a look for yourself.

Trying to get in touch with the Japanese Yagi proved a little tricky, until a journalist at the Japan Times helped out. Alex Martin, an American-Japanese feature writer, has been doing his own research, and knows Yagi personally. It proved invaluable because Yagi's stories of sightings are incredible.

In 1996, he saw a wolf-like animal stop in front of his car. What he did next, is probably the last thing many of us would do: “I decided I would try and give him an osenbei (a rice cracker) and put out my hand and offered it to him,” says Yagi. “I am right-handed, so I offered the cracker to him in my left, thinking that even if he bit my left arm, I would be alright."


It’s been a few weeks since I touched Duolingo. At one point I was pretty on top of it. But one day I was too busy and it slipped my mind, and then the next day I did it again. “What the hell,” I thought, “I lost my streak yesterday so I may as well give myself another day off today.”

I was pleased to learn, though, that people who cut themselves some slack are better able to cope with setbacks. A tactic called "emergency reserves" can help you to bounce back from disappointment. I explored this for BBC Worklife this week, and know that I'll be using this tactic for all my difficult projects.

Thanks for reading! Feedback on this newsletter or my work is always welcome at info@williamhpark.com. 

The hunt for Japan’s ‘ghost’ wolves
Could an apex predator, thought extinct for 100 years, still be roaming Japanese mountains? Some enthusiasts think they have the evidence.

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How ‘emergency reserves’ can help you stick to your goals
By cutting yourself some slack, you can future-proof yourself against annoying setbacks. Here's how.

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