• Kyodo


A brown bear shot dead last month in Monbetsu, Hokkaido, was so big — about 400 kg — that residents are jokingly calling it the “metabolic” bear, it has been learned.

“Even a 300-kg bear would be considered big,” said a 71-year-old man who belongs to a hunting club. “I’ve been a hunter for more than 40 years, but I’ve never seen a bear like this.”

According to city officials in Monbetsu, the footprints of the giant male bear were found near fields and houses in the city, prompting the city and police to increase patrols.

Separately, a corn farmer whose crops had apparently been raided by bears, asked the local hunting club to hunt it down.

After harvesting most of the corn and narrowing down the range of potential hiding places, hunters shot the bear after spotting it running from a field on Sept. 26.

“It is probably one of the biggest bears that has ever been taken down,” said Toshifumi Onishi, an official at the famed Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa. “Farming fields are a paradise for bears. They have a big appetite before they hibernate, which is probably why the bear was so fat.”

Earlier this month, Hokkaido authorities told residents to exercise caution this year because bears might wander into towns and cities or fields in search of food due to a shortage of their favored acorns and beech nuts.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.