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Marauding bear wreaks havoc on Japanese suburb before being shot


The bear photographed surrounded by lawns and greenery – STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP

Hunters in northern Japan shot dead a brown bear that injured four people in a rampage on the outskirts of Sapporo city.

The male brown bear, who was around six feet long and estimated to be five years old, wreaked havoc on the city’s Higashi neighborhood after being first sighted on a street at 3:30 a.m. It was not until 11:15 am that the hunters were able to shoot the creature, when a regional airport was closed, 42 schools were closed for the day and a military base was placed on alert.

Toshishi Ogasawara told the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper that he was taking out his trash shortly after 5:30 a.m. when he was confronted with the bear.

“I looked at him in amazement, but as I tried to run away my legs got tangled and I fell,” said Mr. Ogasawara, 75. “The bear jumped onto my back and I could feel it standing on top of me. I didn’t think I was going to live.

Marauding bear wreaks havoc on Japanese suburb before being shot

Police officers and members of a hunting party search for a brown bear roaming free in Sapporo, Hokkaido prefecture, June 18, 2021 – STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP

“At that exact moment, when I thought I was going to die, he jumped up and ran away,” he said. “When I looked up I couldn’t see him.”

Mr. Ogasawara sustained scratch injuries to his lower back and was treated at a nearby hospital.

The remaining victims were identified as two men in their 60s, a woman in their 60s and a soldier who stood guard at the Self-Defense Forces’ Okadama military base. All were treated for claw wounds and scratches, many of which were knocked down or fallen, although one man suffered a broken rib.

A police helicopter and dozens of police cars were deployed to hunt down the bear before four hunters from the Hokkaido Hunting Association managed to corner the creature and shoot it inside the compound of the military base.

Bears are common in Hokkaido and other rural parts of Japan, with a number of deaths reported each year. Many are mountain hikers or mushroom pickers.



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