Human Interest

Japan sees unprecedented bear attack increase

Tokyo, Oct 22 (EFE).- Japan is registering an unprecedented increase in bear attacks this year and authorities warn that encounters between people and plantigrades may increase in the coming weeks given that the animals are now collecting food to hibernate.

According to Japan’s Environment Ministry, between April and September (first half of the Japanese fiscal year) 109 people were recorded injured by Asiatic bears or Ussuri brown bears, which live exclusively on the northern island of Hokkaido.

This is the highest figure recorded in the first six months of a financial year since the Government began compiling data in 2007.

The majority of encounters, 70 percent, occurred in prefectures in the northeast of Honshu, the main island of the Japanese archipelago, such as Akita, Iwate and Fukushima.

During those six months, two such attacks, one in Iwate and one in Hokkaido, were fatal, and another case is suspected in Toyama, central Honshu.

Local authorities believe that the reason behind this increase in the number of encounters is that, on the one hand, the number of cubs increased last year due to an abundance of nuts and acorns.

In turn, this year has seen a shortage of this type of fruit, which pushes bears to venture to areas closer to human habitats, especially at the current time, when they search for food more vigorously while preparing to hibernate. EFE


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