Animal experts warn that bears in Japan have become accustomed to such sounds as radios and the ringing of bells used by humans to frighten them away and now may instead be attracted by the sounds as a marker of human prey.
In Akita Prefecture, four people assumed to be victims of bear attacks were found dead between May and June.
Pieces of human flesh were found in the stomach of one of the bears suspected to have attacked the victims. Other people in the prefecture have been seriously injured in recent attacks.
Experts warn that administrative authorities should improve measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
Local govt measures criticized
Prof. Koji Yamazaki of the Tokyo University of Agriculture, who is in charge of research conducted by the Tokyo-based Japan Bear Network, said, “Entry into the areas where the incidents took place should have been strictly limited, and utmost efforts should have been made to kill bears suspected to have attacked people.”
In recent attacks, five people have been killed or injured on a mountain in Kazuno in the prefecture. The municipal government asked the prefectural government on May 23 for permission to kill bears after a second fatal attack was confirmed.
On May 30, a third victim’s body was found, and on June 10, a fourth victim’s body was discovered.
Members of a local hunters association found a female bear, which was assumed to have attacked the people, near the fourth victim’s body. They fatally shot the bear.
The bodies of the third and fourth victims were severely damaged, and it was pointed out that multiple bears had fed on them.
A necropsy performed on the female bear revealed pieces of human flesh in its stomach.
An official of the city government said: “The area where the incidents occurred is vast. Privately owned land plots as well as roads for residents’ daily use are located in the area. There are also access paths to mountain areas. It would be unrealistic to totally ban entry into the area.”
Source: Yomiuri Image: YouTube