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

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A wild brown bear roaming a city in northern Japan all night injured four people, broke into a military camp and interrupted flights at an airport on Friday before being shot by authorities.

The bear wandered the streets of Sapporo in the early hours of Friday morning, triggering a series of calls to the police. Over the next eight hours, Hokkaido Prefecture police said the bear injured a woman in their 80s, a man in their 70s and a man in their 40s before attacking a soldier.

Bear places in Hokkaido, Japan
Hunters and police kill a bear in Higashi District, Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture, northern Japan, on June 18, 2021.

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images


Police said the condition of the injured was unknown, but the Asahi newspaper reported that the man suffered serious injuries to his chest, back and limbs in his forties after being mangled by the bear while walking on the street.

Video of the bear, shown by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, showed the animal climbing over a barbed wire fence and police trying to catch it before it was finally shot.

Other footage on local television showed the bear wandering a street in Sapporo. Chased by a car, it crossed a busy road and entered the Okadama Ground Self-Defense Forces camp.

The bear knocked down a uniformed soldier at the gate.

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

Next, the bear ran through the camp and broke into the runway of a nearby airport, suspending several flights.

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

Toshihiro Hamada, an official with the Sapporo City Environment Ministry, said the bear’s presence in the city was a surprise and officials are investigating how the animal ended up in the city.

“We’re sorry four people were injured,” said Hamada.

Brown bears primarily roam the Hokkaido forests, but experts say they have been increasingly spotted in populated areas in search of food, especially during the summer. Last year a bear-ridden city in Hokkaido installed robotic wolves to howl and scare the bears away.

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