Wild bears were becoming more than a nuisance, moving to a small Japanese town in the northern island of Hokkaido in search of food and increasing the risk of fatal encounters with humans.
As the bears saw, and the danger increased, in Takikawa City, the population 40,000, turned into a mechanical solution.
In September and October, officers installed a “monster wolf” near another residential neighborhood and another to keep wild bears in an area in the suburban area.
The machine wolf, originally developed by machinery manufacturer Ohta Seki, is 2.6 feet long and four feet tall, its manufacturer said. But when planted high in a field, it appears to be more than a match for a wild bear.
With fake fur, prickly fangs, and glowing red eyes, the wolf turns his head from side to side and when his motion detectors are triggered, he seems lewd, timid. The Screech can travel approximately one kilometer, and comes in over 60 varieties, including a dog bark, a hunter’s voice, and gunshots.
As such, the bear will not have a habit of sounding, according to Shuji Sasaki, director of Wolf Kamyu, in charge of selling and maintaining the mechanical wolf.
The gambler from Takikawa feels that was a huge success, said Hiroki Kondo, a city official. There has been no other sighting of the bear since Rumbo-Wolves showed up.
According to official data, bear sightings in the wild have reached a five-year high throughout Japan in recent months. Since April, 13,670 reports were filed. Many attacks have injured or killed residents this year, and bears have been shot and killed. According to local media reports, recent attacks, including two fatal ones, led to an emergency government meeting last month to deal with the threat.
The brown bear was rarely seen in Tikkwa – almost every few years – but residents have reported 10 sightings in the city this year, Mr. Kondo said. On September 14, some residents told city officials that they could see the “bear from the window” of their home. According to local reports, three days ago, the city government received reports of a bear cub in the same area. This led to the deployment of mechanical wolves.
The lack of acorns and shrinking rural populations – which serve as a buffer between forests and over-populated urban areas – are among the factors that push wild bears to other areas in search of food ahead of their hibernation.
Ohta Seki’s chief executive, Yuji Ota, told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK last month that the robo-wolf could help humans and bears “coexist,” chasing animals in the mountains.
“We want to tell the bear, ‘Human settlements are not where you live,” he also told the Menchi newspaper.
Monster Wolf was originally rolled out in 2016 to protect the farm and crops. Since then, deer, bears and monkeys have been filmed leaping away as Howell, a mechanical contraceptive. About 70 wolves are in use around the country, from Hokkaido to the southern part of Okinawa, where they protect pineapple fields from wild animals.
As for real wolves, they are believed to have been extinct in Japan for more than a century.