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Raging bear in Japan injures 4, disrupts flights before being shot


A wild brown bear roaming free overnight in a city in northern Japan injured four people, entered a military camp and disrupted flights at an airport on Friday before being shot dead by authorities.

The bear was seen wandering the streets of Sapporo in the early hours of Friday, triggering a number of police calls. Over the next eight hours, Hokkaido Prefecture police said the bear injured a woman in her 60s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 40s before attacking a soldier.

A video of the bear broadcast by Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed the animal climbing a barbed wire fence and police struggled to capture it before it was finally shot.

Raging bear in Japan injures 4, disrupts flights before being shot
Hunters and police exterminate a bear in Higashi neighborhood, Sapporo city, Hokkaido prefecture, northern Japan, on June 18, 2021. At around 3:30 a.m. on June 18, a bear appeared in the city and four people were attacked and injured.

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images


Police said the condition of the injured was not known, but the Asahi newspaper reported the man in his 40s suffered serious injuries to his chest, back and limbs after being maimed by the bear. as he walked down the street.

Images broadcast on local television showed the bear wandering on a street in Sapporo. Pursued by a car, he crossed a busy road and forced his way into the Land Self-Defense Force’s Okadama camp. The bear knocked down a soldier in service uniform at the door.

The soldier suffered cuts to his chest and stomach, but his injuries are not life threatening, according to the Defense Ministry.

Then, the bear crossed the camp and entered the runway of a nearby airport, causing several flights to come to a halt.

The bear then ran into a forest, where it was shot by local hunters.

Toshihiro Hamada, an official with the environmental department of the city of Sapporo, said the bear’s presence in town was a surprise and officials were investigating how the animal ended up in town.

“We are sorry that four people were injured,” Hamada said.

Brown bears mostly roam the forests of Hokkaido, but experts say they have been increasingly seen in populated areas foraging, especially during the summer. Last year, a town in Hokkaido plagued by wild bears installed terrifying robotic wolves howl at bears and scare them.

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