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October 24, 2020 - The Guardian

'Ursine terror': plea to improve habitat after spate of bear attacks in Japan

'Ursine terror': plea to improve habitat after spate of bear attacks in Japan
Asian black bear© Photabulous!

A spate of bear attacks in Japan has prompted calls to improve their natural habitat, as experts warned of more potentially dangerous encounters with the animals as they venture into populated areas in search of food.

Japanese media have reported several incidents of “ursine terror” in recent weeks, including an attack in Ishikawa prefecture last weekend that left four people injured, including a man in his 90s and two hunters called to confront the bear.

The bear, which weighed more than 100kg (220lb), had punctured the tyre of a police car with its claws and was shot dead after entering a home. This week another black bear that wandered into a shopping mall in Ishikawa was killed after a 13-hour search. The attacks are being attributed to a shortage of acorns in the bears’ natural habitat, forcing them to wander into populated areas in search of food.

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