Brown Bears Active, Roaming Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Brown bears walk along a slope beside a national highway in Shari, Hokkaido, in search of edible plants and other food on Saturday.

Brown bears are coming out of hibernation and have begun searching for food on the Shiretoko Peninsula, a World Heritage site in Hokkaido.

Shiretoko Nature Foundation, which protects, surveys and studies wild animals, said brown bear sightings started in early March this year. In the Utoro district of the town of Shari, brown bears have been seen even on slopes along National Highway Route 334, which is frequented by tourists and local residents.

Ahead of the Golden Week holidays, the foundation is calling for people visiting the peninsula to stay on alert against brown bears. People should not leave their car if they see bears while driving, should carry bells to ward off bears when they walk near the highway, and should slowly walk backward away from any bears they come across.