3 People Injured by Bear in Ishikawa Pref., First Recorded Attack in December

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police officers searching for a bear in Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

KANAZAWA — Three people were injured after being attacked by a bear in the downtown area of Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday, according to the city government and other entities.

This is the first bear attack in December in Ishikawa Prefecture since records started in 2005. Experts said that bears are delaying the start of hibernation due to the warm winter.

According to the city government and fire department, a woman in her 70s was attacked by a bear while sorting vegetables at her residence at around 9:55 a.m. Saturday and suffered serious injuries, including a broken bone in her face.

Around 1 p.m., a man in his 70s was attacked by a bear in the nearby district and suffered injuries to his face and right arm. Around 2 p.m., a woman in her 60s sustained minor injuries to her face and right shoulder in another district of the city.

It appears that all three people were attacked by the same bear that was also seen at an elder care facility in the neighboring city of Nonoichi. The bear was later found entering a residence in Hakusan and captured with a tranquilizer. The animal is an adult and is approximately 1.3 meters long.

“Bears usually go into hibernation in mid-December, but this year some bears have delayed hibernation due to the warm weather,” said Toru Oi, a specially appointed professor at Ishikawa Prefectural University and an expert on bears. “I think that the bear came down to a populated area because it could not find food in the mountains. It then encountered people or cars, which likely caused it to panic.”