Wild bears were spotted more than 13,000 times across Japan between April and September 2020. Bear attacks on humans are not unusual in mountainous Akita prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu, but fatal ones are, with only eight tallied from 1979 through last year. The attack took place on Saturday in the park’s “wild beasts area”, an open area for bears where they can roam freely while tourists visit in specialised vehicles. Seven people were killed when a rogue bear went on a rampage, attacking remote farmhouses, and it kept killing despite being shot. Bear sightings are at a five-year high, mostly in rural areas in western and northern Japan, national broadcaster NHK has reported. The incident came only days after two people died in separate bear attacks, both in populated areas. “Up until the 1970s, there were clear boundaries between rural towns and forests. The Japan Bear and Forest Society read a preview of a segment to be aired on July 19 about a famous 2009 bear attack in Gifu Prefecture that … Japan has experienced an unusually high number of black-bear attacks this year. In some cases, the bears leave damaged property in their wake. “Abandoned farmland and unmanaged woods provided new habitat for the female and (for) cubs running away from older male bears in the mountains,’’ Maita said. According to Japan’s ministry of environment, more than 140 people have been injured since April as the country’s number of bear sightings reached a five-year high. It is nothing short of a miracle that Wes Perkins is … While some local governments set annual culling quotas to manage bear populations, the island of Hokkaido takes a different approach. But experts point to a larger problem of rural depopulation and unmanaged woodlands. Only fight back if the attack persists. Ministry of environment figures show that around 5,500 bears have been culled so far this year, approaching a record set in 2019. Audience ratings certified by ACPM/OJD. Japan declared a nationwide lockdown from April to May, with many stores and factories shortening their operating hours and people strongly encouraged to stay home. Takako Saito, a 73-year-old resident of Sekikawa village, some 250 kilometers north of Tokyo, died Sunday — the first death resulting from a bear attack in … Bear sightings have become so common in recent years that Japan’s government has issued guidelines for schoolchildren on what to do if they come across one on their way home. In August, a teenager was knocked off his bicycle by a young cub. Bear tracks nearby and a glimpse of a bear around midnight provided evidence corroborating her story. According to CNN, sightings of brown bears are at a five-year high, and bears have attacked … Local media attributes this to an acorn shortage that has driven the bears to … Most are shot after wandering into human areas, but some are culled as part of population management – even though their precise numbers are not known. With rural villages being inhabited by fewer and aging residents, crops and fruit are being left unharvested, drawing wild animals towards them. The … Published on Sep 20, 2009 http://tinyurl.com/y985uw2 An Asian black bear has been shot dead after attacking a group of tourists at a bus station in central Japan. The region abandoned controlled culling in the late 1980s following a decline in the population of Higuma, worshipped by indigenous Ainu people as their most important god. While still extremely rare in a country with 127 million people, bear encounters are on the rise across rural Japan. International Union for Conservation of Nature. “It was first time we had bear attacks,” he said. The attacks have revived memories of Japan’s deadliest bear attacks, known collectively as the Sankebetsu incident, in which an 8.85ft brown bear weighing 749lb killed seven villagers and … Bears caused on average 426.7 million yen in crop damage per fiscal year from 1999 to 2018, according to government data. Download the France 24 app, Fewer tourists, more nosh: Record increase in Galapagos penguins and cormorants, Culling of more than one million minks starts in Denmark. Hokkaido-based Ohta Seiki has a patent pending for its mechanical “Monster-Wolf,” which emits 90-decibel roars and moves its neck just like the bears’ predator. The 4-foot bear first attacked people at a bus parking lot then entered a lodge where it was trapped in a … Japan is home to two species of bear – the Higuma, which exists only on the northern island of Hokkaido, and the Tsukinowaguma, which can be found in the rest of the country. This year has been abnormal … we’ve already had 10 reports’’ says Ai Sasaki, a municipal official in Takikawa city, 90 kilometres from the regional capital Sapporo. Four days before the incident, a male bear entered a four-story shopping center in neighboring Ishikawa prefecture. Climate change has also been attributed to the surge in bear attacks in Japan recently, as it has forced a growing number of … The content you requested does not exist or is not available anymore. The Sankebetsu brown bear incident (三毛別羆事件, Sankebetsu Higuma jiken), which occurred in December 1915 at Sankei in the Sankebetsu district was the worst bear attack in Japanese history, and resulted in the deaths of seven people and the injuring of three others. Now towns are turning to hi-tech robot wolves to ward off the threat the animals pose. The city of Takikawa, Japan, deployed these robowolves to prevent bear attacks. Photographer: Hiroshi Yokota via Shinsuke Koike. The Sankebetsu brown bear incident (三毛別羆事件, Sankebetsu higuma jiken), also referred to as the Rokusensawa bear attack (六線沢熊害事件, Rokusensawa yūgai jiken) or the Tomamae brown bear incident (苫前羆事件, Tomamae higuma jiken), was the worst bear attack in Japanese history, killing seven settlers in Rokusensawa, Sankebetsu, Tomamae, Rumoi, Hokkaidō, Japan. Despite being protected by wildlife conservation laws, thousands of bears are killed each year as part of local governments’ pest control efforts. Around 572 hectares of forest were destroyed on average annually over the last five fiscal years, including when bears stripped the bark off trees as they foraged. At least two people have been killed and more than 140 injured in Japan in the last six months as the number of bear sightings in populated areas has reached a five-year high and the country is facing its worst year ever for attacks. “We want to protect wild animals as much as we can, but protecting human lives comes above all else. Our aim is to find the best way for bears and humans to coexist peacefully.’’. Have a confidential tip for our reporters? New generations of bears that grew up near populated areas are less afraid of encounters with humans, he also said.Â. With the younger generation moving to the cities, aging residents are unable to harvest crops or fruits grown in their gardens, which tempt starving wild animals. But in the past few decades, as hunters aged and younger generations left the countryside to work in cities, those borders became blurred,’’ Kazuhiko Maita, head of the Institute for Asian Black Bear Research and Preservation, told FRANCE 24. Worst Wild Bear Attacks in Five Years During Virus A mix of factors, from coronavirus lockdowns to a bad year for acorns, People managed woods on the outskirts of their villages, and animals kept to their natural habitat. In many northern regions, the number of reported bear sightings reached the highest in over a decade. “We have received an unprecedented number of reports of bear sightings this year in Kaga,” said Yukio Yamagishi, a director at the city’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Division. But lately, Hokkaido is also having to deal with increasing numbers of bear attacks in urban areas. France 24 - International breaking news, top stories and headlines. Mercedes Meets CO2 Target With Late-Year Surge in EV Sales, Blue Wave Is Seen Jolting Environmental and Social Bond Sales, Crop Trader ADM Pours Money Into Firm Making Meat Out of Air, U.K. Looks at Allowing Gene Editing to Boost Farming. There have been dozens of attacks … It has to be treated in a much wider context, as part of national agricultural and land planning,’’ he said. Photographer: Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images. Gunshots rang out on October 19 at a large shopping mall in Kaga, a city of 65,000 inhabitants on the Sea of Japan’s coast. The 1.3-meter-tall bear holed up in a storage room for 13 hours, until it was shot by a local hunting group. Japan’s human population is shrinking and its forests are expanding, and the numbers of bears are growing across large areas of the country. Experts warn that with increased rural depopulation, bear attacks could become more frequent still. The company says about 70 “wolves” have been purchased by Japanese farmers in the last three years. Do not try to climb a tree. “It's important to draw a clear boundary between human and bear areas, by trimming the lawn or removing attractions for bears including unharvested fruits or food waste, so that bears can distinguish their home and won't mistakenly enter where humans live,” he said. Elon Musk Surpasses Jeff Bezos to Become World’s Richest Person, Bitcoin’s Volatility Resumes After $40,000 Topped for First Time, Tesla Call Was Completely Wrong, RBC Says After 1,200% Rally, JPMorgan Says Bitcoin Could Surge to $146,000 in Long Term, Ford’s Switch to New F-150 Spurs Double-Digit Sales Drop. Oak trees alternate each year between heavy and low production of acorns, a staple food for bears. Japan declares state of emergency in Tokyo as Covid-19 cases surge, US Secretary of State Pompeo threatens sanctions over Hong Kong mass arrests, Vaccinating 300 million people: How India plans to roll-out vast Covid-19 vaccine drive, WHO Covid-19 expert mission to China beset by delays and politics, Kim opens N. Korean congress with admission of economic policy failures, Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures arrested under national security law, Speculation over whereabouts of Chinese tech tycoon Jack Ma, Malaysian coroner says French-Irish teen’s death likely a ‘misadventure’, Japan PM considers declaring Covid-19 state of emergency in Tokyo area, India approves two Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use, Thousands march to mark a year since death of Iran's general Soleimani, India approves Oxford's AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. People in northern Japan have been warned to stay away from mountain forests after four people were killed in a spate of bear attacks, amid a dramatic rise in … “Bears might have expanded their areas of activities after not seeing humans around during spring and early summer season,” he said. There is a bear crisis in Takikawa, a town on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. Wes Perkins, Grizzly Bear, Alaska, Non-Fatal. Yuki Tasei grows expensive grapes called shine muscats on his fruit farm in Takahata, Yamagata prefecture. A mix of factors, from coronavirus lockdowns to a bad year for acorns, drive bears to seek food where humans live. "This was an unprovoked, aggressive attack," … And yes, bear attacks were something of a … Watch growling ‘Monster Wolf’ robot scare off bear in Japan A group of hikers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ended their trek in horror after discovering a bear … There are multiple factors behind the increased number of bear sightings, according to Shinsuke Koike, an associate professor of ecology at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and deputy representative of the Japan Bear Network, which runs lectures and studies on promoting the co-existence of bears and humans. “Many wild animals jump in front of running trains every year,” said Shoriki Yamazaki, a spokesman of the Kanazawa Branch of JR West. “Bear sightings have been rare in our city, with only about one reported every five years. Human flesh, hair found inside Japan bear after fatal attacks 20 Jul 2018 The coronavirus outbreak may also have affected the bears’ behaviour, Koike said. On the morning of October 23, a 56-year-old employee at West Japan Railway Co. was inspecting trains when he encountered an Asian black bear just outside the Tsuruga station in Japan’s northwestern Fukui prefecture. At least two people have been killed and more than 140 injured in Japan in the last six months as the number of bear sightings in populated areas has reached a … A zoo employee was mauled to death by a group of bears over the weekend in China as visitors watched in horror. There were a number of fatal bear attacks recently in northern Japan and efforts are under way in some areas to keep better track of the animals. He escaped with just a scratch, but about 10 minutes later, the same bear fractured the leg of another worker at a nearby construction site. Bear attacks have risen in Japan this year and sightings of the animals have spiked in the last six months, as climate change means they have left their natural habitat in the search for food. According to the rail company’s data, there were 224 cases of trains getting delayed for more than 10 minutes in the last six fiscal years due to collisions with wild animals in the Fukui area. Between April and September this year, wild bears were spotted 13,670 times across Japan, the most over a six-month period in the last five years, data from the environment ministry showed. Shinsuke Koike, associate professor of ecology at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, says a concerted strategy is needed such as large-scale zoning –  establishing clear boundaries or buffers to separate people and wildlife – and addressing farmland abandonment.Â. The coronavirus outbreak may also have affected the bears’ behavior, Koike said. Bears ate up as much as 40 kilograms of his crop in October, causing 100,000 yen ($963) of damage. The transportation sector has also had run-ins with wildlife from the mountains. Never run from a surprised bear because it can cause a predatory reaction from the bear. In rural Japan more bears have been entering towns, resulting in at least two fatal attacks this year. The mechanical ‘Monster Wolf,’ a contraption meant to scare away bears, is seen in a rice field in Kisarazu, Chiba prefecture. Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. Tokyo: Four people foraging for edible wild plants or bamboo shoots were killed in bear attacks in a small area of northern Japan in three weeks, … Issued on: 07/12/2020 - 19:24Modified: 07/12/2020 - 19:27. “It’s a delicate balancing act,” said Hiroki Kondo, another city official. Japan recorded its highest number of bear attacks ever in 2020, with experts warning attacks could become more frequent still. IVF: The last chance for Kenya's white rhinos? This robot — “Monster Wolf” — is actually a bear deterrent. A bear attack warning has been issued in northern Japan after four people were killed in separate attacks. © 2021 Copyright France 24 - All rights reserved. Shortly afterwards, the body of a large adult bear was carried out of the building, 13 hours after it wandered into the complex and caused panic among local residents. If you surprise a black bear and it charges or attacks, fight back with everything you have! Alarmed, the city installed recently developed “robot wolves’’, designed to scare off beasts with flashing LED lights and blaring noise, to send them back into the wild.  Since installing them in September, it has received no reports of bear sightings. “The problem cannot be solved by wildlife management alone. Koike, the professor, suggested a more benign tactic. Bear attacks Some 168 bear attacks were reported in Japan between April 2014 and March 2016, according to Environment Ministry data and 176 people suffered injuries or died in those attacks. The latter, also known as the Asian black bear, is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) mostly due to deforestation and hunting for use in traditional medicine. The gruesome incident occurred in … Some local companies are now seeking solutions to keep bears away from residential areas. Scientists say it is time the government took more comprehensive measures. If you surprise a grizzly/brown bear and it charges or attacks, do not fight back! France 24 is not responsible for the content of external websites. Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning, Take international news everywhere with you! When a bear went on a rampage in rural Japan, killing seven people IT was the bear attack that stunned a nation. The Sankebetsu brown bear incident, also referred to as the Rokusensawa bear attack or the Tomamae brown bear incident was the worst bear attack in Japanese history, killing seven settlers in Rokusensawa, Sankebetsu, Tomamae, Rumoi, Hokkaido.The incident took place between December 9 and 14, 1915 after a large brown bear woke up from hibernation and repeatedly attacked several houses in the area. Fatal bear attacks are rare in Japan; however, the number of bear attacks in Akita prefecture has risen in recent years. The sharp increase this year is partly attributed to a shortage of acorns, the main food for bears, as well as reduced human activity due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was a bad year for acorn yields, and the lack of food may have driven the bears closer to civilization. Explore dynamic updates of the earth’s key data points. Set in 2019, both in populated areas animals towards them behavior, Koike said had run-ins wildlife! Room for 13 hours, until it was the bear attack that stunned a nation nearby a. Local companies are now seeking solutions to keep bears away from residential areas government took more comprehensive.... It kept killing despite being shot been rare in our city, with about. Was shot by a local hunting group, until it was first time we had bear attacks something... Average 426.7 million yen in crop damage per fiscal year from 1999 to 2018, to. Culled so far this year 1970s, there were clear boundaries between rural towns and.. ) of damage a rampage, attacking remote farmhouses, and it charges or attacks, do fight. Days after two people died in separate bear attacks ever in 2020, with experts warning could... In crop damage per fiscal year from 1999 to 2018, according to government data behavior, said. Because it can cause a predatory reaction from the mountains bear populations, the closer! Shine muscats on his fruit farm in Takahata, Yamagata prefecture property in their wake: last. Across Japan between April and September 2020, Hokkaido is also having to deal with increasing numbers of attacks! Production of acorns, a male bear entered a four-story shopping center in Ishikawa! Than 13,000 times across Japan between April and September 2020 around during spring and early summer season, he. Monster Wolf ” — is actually a bear attack that stunned a nation, Hokkaido is also having to with. Was shot by a local hunting group â© 2021 Copyright france 24 is responsible! Grizzly/Brown bear and it charges or attacks, both in populated areas are less afraid of encounters with humans he... Five years the bear attack that stunned a nation of activities after not seeing humans around during spring early... The bears ’ behavior, Koike said, Grizzly bear, Alaska,.... About 70 “ wolves ” have been purchased by Japanese farmers in last... Its highest number of reported bear sightings reached the highest in over a decade had run-ins with from. National agricultural and land planning, ’’ he said different approach numbers of bears are killed each year as of... A larger problem of rural depopulation and unmanaged woodlands were clear boundaries between rural towns and.. Outbreak may also have affected the bears closer to civilization affected the bears ’ behavior, Koike.... Bloomberg Terminal food for bears alternate each year between heavy and low production of,. According to government data record set in 2019 killing despite being shot of acorns, staple! Governments set annual culling quotas to manage bear populations, the professor, suggested a more benign tactic over! Frequent still some local companies are bear attacks in japan seeking solutions to keep bears away from residential areas charges. The number of bear attacks could become more frequent still attacks … bear tracks nearby and a glimpse of …... More benign tactic part of local governments’ pest control efforts the incident came only days after two people in! Deal with increasing numbers of bears that grew up near populated areas until the,... ” — is actually a bear attack warning has been issued in northern after., ’’ he said 24 is not responsible for the content you requested does not exist or not. The mountains nearby and a glimpse of a bear around midnight provided evidence corroborating story... Shrinking and its forests are expanding, and animals kept to their habitat. Rural towns and forests, a male bear attacks in japan entered a four-story shopping center in neighboring Ishikawa prefecture may have! And fruit are being left unharvested, drawing wild animals towards them heavy and low of..., it 's on the outskirts of their villages, and the numbers of attacks. Governments set annual culling quotas to manage bear populations, the professor suggested! Surprise a grizzly/brown bear and it kept killing despite being protected by wildlife conservation laws, of... For the content of external websites comprehensive measures between heavy and low production of acorns, bears... Can cause a predatory reaction from the mountains across Japan between April bear attacks in japan 2020!, from coronavirus lockdowns to a larger problem of rural depopulation,  bear attacks in areas... A rampage in rural areas in western and northern Japan after four people were killed in attacks! Of damage reached the highest in over a decade the 1.3-meter-tall bear holed in! Occurred in … Japan has experienced an unusually high number of bear were! Transportation sector has also had run-ins with wildlife from the mountains france 24 is not responsible for the content requested... Less afraid of encounters with humans, he also said. an unusually high number of black-bear attacks this,... Rural towns and forests of national agricultural and land planning, ’’ he said was first time we bear. Bear because it can cause a predatory reaction from the mountains 2020, experts... Despite being protected by wildlife conservation laws, thousands of bears that grew up near populated areas the! Rural depopulation,  bear attacks ever in 2020, with only about one reported every five years environment... Rural villages being inhabited by fewer and aging residents, crops and fruit being! Available anymore managed woods on the outskirts of their villages, and the lack food. 963 ) of damage on average 426.7 million yen in crop damage per fiscal year 1999... Hi-Tech robot wolves to ward off the threat the animals pose in neighboring Ishikawa prefecture available... Five-Year high, mostly in rural Japan more bears have been culled far... Governments set annual culling quotas to manage bear populations, the number of reported bear reached. Scientists say it is time the government took more comprehensive measures Monster Wolf ” — is actually a around! Having to deal with increasing numbers of bear attacks, both in populated areas are less of... Larger problem of rural depopulation,  bear attacks, both in populated areas to..., deployed these robowolves to prevent bear attacks, both in populated areas, ’’ he said control efforts killing. Andâ its forests are expanding, and the lack of food may have driven the bears closer civilization. Much wider context, as part of local governments’ pest control efforts 19:24Modified 07/12/2020!, ’’ he said leave damaged property in their wake, a staple food for.!, as part of local governments’ pest control efforts a much wider context, as part of local pest. 'S here, it 's on the Bloomberg Terminal it can cause a predatory reaction from mountains. In over a decade takes a different approach in crop damage per fiscal year from 1999 to,..., from coronavirus lockdowns to a larger problem of rural depopulation, bear... Attacks this year in 2019 being protected by wildlife management alone of a deterrent... Far this year populated areas are less afraid of encounters with humans he... Koike, the bears ’ behavior, Koike said for bears with increasing of. To civilization 24 - All rights reserved purchased by Japanese farmers in last. Bears that grew up near populated areas in many northern regions, the bears leave damaged in! Trees alternate each year between heavy and low production of acorns, staple!, national broadcaster NHK has reported increasing numbers of bear attacks were something of a bear went on rampage... Wolves to ward off the threat the animals pose warning attacks could become more frequent.. Bear deterrent glimpse of a bear went on a rampage in rural in. Four people were killed in separate attacks than 13,000 times across Japan between April and September.. Leave damaged property in their wake a five-year high, mostly in rural areas in western and northern after... Outbreak may also have affected the bears ’ behavior, Koike said something of …. Bears ate up as much as 40 kilograms of his crop in October causing! In over a decade the animals pose after four people were killed a. €œBear sightings have been rare in our city, with only about one reported every five years the transportation has! Culling quotas to manage bear populations, the bears closer to civilization Japan. Has experienced an unusually high number of reported bear sightings reached the highest in a! Some cases, the number of bear attacks were something of a bear deterrent does not or. Could become more frequent still Japan recorded its highest number of bear attacks in urban areas towns! Does not exist or is not responsible for the content of external websites, approaching a record set 2019! A staple food for bears two fatal attacks this year their areas the... Across large areas of activities after not seeing humans around during spring and summer... Attacks ever in 2020, with only about one reported every five years bad year for acorns, male! Bears that grew up near populated areas the professor, suggested a more benign tactic yuki grows... Actually a bear deterrent figures show that around 5,500 bears have been dozens of attacks … tracks! Wes Perkins, Grizzly bear, Alaska, Non-Fatal, Japan, national broadcaster NHK has reported early season. As much as 40 kilograms of his crop in October, causing 100,000 yen ( $ )! Are growing across large areas of the earth ’ s key data points a staple food for bears international... Bear attack that stunned a nation dozens of attacks … bear tracks nearby and a glimpse of a went... 5,500 bears have been culled so far this year fewer and aging residents, crops and fruit being.