Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?


I see a bunch of petrified tourists staring at me!  Encounters with wild bears are not uncommon in rural Japan, but this case (video, 90 seconds, sorry Japanese only) is unusual because the bear invaded a rest stop area and attacked nine tourists, injuring a few of them quite seriously.  Recently these kinds of incidents, involving bears, wild boars, and monkeys, are increasing and are usually blamed on human encroachment on animal territory. 

I would like to add another reason: Disney (and all cartoons that “humanise” wild animals and imbue them with human characteristics that they do not have).  Many urban dwellers simply do not understand that wild animals can be dangerous when provoked!  What is your opinion about this?


3 comments on “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?

  1. Petra says:

    I am with you on that; the average city dweller or suburbanite knows wildlife either from Disney films or the Animal Channel, meaning that they either have a sugar coated view or get force-fed with scenes where all wildlife is predatory.

    A case in point, which I might have mentioned before – in our area parks and living areas intertwine. The parks are full of wildlife, for example coyotes, who like to roam the adjacent gardens for the odd cat or dog. Cats are too clever to end up as coyote snack, but many a jippy little dog out after dark makes a tasty meal for many a happy coyote family.

    Even though the Neighborhood Councils always point out that small pets should not be left alone, people just don’t learn. They scream for “measures” – kill all coyotes. Right…

    Another case are the National Parks where bears live. All visitors are warned again and again not to leave food around, as it attracts bears. Reaction: “Hey, put that bacon sandwich out, then we can see bears.”

    Evert year rangers are evicting people, who on purpose endanger themselves and others this way from the parks. People have no idea how dangerous bears are – and how fast they learn, when it comes to sources of food.

  2. Miko says:

    In the past couple of years I’ve had to deal with wild boars on my way back to the station every evening. They come down from the mountain-side to root for food in our skips, and are largely harmless unless you threaten their young ones. Apart from them and a few gutter rats, I’ve never encountered wild animals in Japan, certainly not bears or coyotes. It sounds like you guys have more to do with nature than people in Japan or even in NZ!

  3. Petra says:

    I have to say, it depends on the area one lives in. There are other parts of the city where wildlife probably consists mainly of rats, squirrels and Red Tailed Hawks. 🙂

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