Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Alarming increase in bear attacks in Japan

Two brown bears walk on a street in Shari in Hokkaido, northern Japan.

Attacks by hungry bears are posing an increasing threat in rural Japan as they forage for food.

The rise in attacks is triggered by what officials believe is a shortage of food in the animals' mountain habitats.

The Environment Ministry says bears have attacked 84 people - killing four - from April to September this year, surpassing last year's total of 64 attacks.

The increase was described as alarming by a ministry official.

The attacks have drawn national attention and TV news broadcasts have shown bears walking down residential streets or climbing trees near houses.

The attacks have been limited so far to the less-populated northern and central parts of Japan. In the north, police said a bear broke into a nursing home and seriously injured a woman.

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