Mushiking Fans Threaten Real Beetles With Extinction

stagbeetle.jpgMushiking's a big hit in Japan. How big? Kids don't just want to collect digital bugs, they want real bugs. Even ones that don't live in Japan, and cost a tonne of money to import. And it's driving one species to the brink of extinction. A rare stag beetle, which is only found in Turkey's Amanos Mountains, is being picked clean by "bounty hunters", keen to snatch up the bugs and sell them in Japan for as much as ¥40,000 (USD$350). Crazy. Course, collecting bugs and pitting them against each other is nothing new to Japanese kids (the game is, after all, cashing in on the pastime), but Mushiking has really spurred on the hobby. Welcome to 2007, kids. Video game puts bounty hunters on the trail that could wipe out the stag beetle [The Times]


    Obviously it's better for the beetles if Japanese kids breed them in cages and protect them from predators than to leave it to nature. They just have to make sure those kids do breed them. That's half the fun!
    Seriously, there's, like, more tigers in captivity than in the wild.

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