The impact that "beetle mania" is having on insect populations
With this installation Jacha is trying to make people aware of how destructive the human race is to other living things for the sake of money.
Stag beetles are in severe danger of disappearing from their natural environment. Large gangs descend on countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Australia and Nepal they go in to the mountains or tribal areas and pay local people tiny amounts of money to collect live insects, such as Stag beetles. The insects are then drugged and checked into the airlines as private luggage or sent to themselves through parcels.
Stag beetles are good for the environment, they eat rotting wood, returning important minerals to the soil, but don’t eat living plants. Stag beetles and their larvae are harmless, they are among the rarer beetles – and now even rarer due to a beetle craze in Japan.
The “beetle mania” in Japan has led to a multi-million dollar industry that revolves around the import of exotic beetle species. The mania started with a hit arcade game called Mushi King (insect king), in which players collect cards of virtual Stag beetles as fighters in tournaments. From card and virtual beetles, the passion led to collecting real insects as pets or for staging fights for gamblers. Trade in Stag beetles has reached $100 million annually.