Record number of bear attacks recorded in Japan: six cases were fatal
Last year, a record 193 bear attacks occurred in Japan, six of which were fatal. This is the highest number since records began in 2006.
This is partly due to the fact that it was a poor year for bears. In the forests, a dry summer left fewer acorns and beechnuts - their main food - so hunger made them bold, Yahoo writes.
Now they have started breaking into cattle feeders in search of sustenance, according to farmer Sadao Yoshizawa.
"I tried an electric fence, but it didn't work. They just follow me when I go into the barn," says Yoshizawa.
But hunger is not the only reason for the rise in bear incidents. As Japan's population shrinks, people leave the countryside and bears move in.
"Then the area was restored to forest, so the bears had a chance to expand their range," biologist Koji Yamazaki of Tokyo University of Agriculture told CBS News.
Japan is one of the few places on the planet where a large mammal is reclaiming its habitat, which is good news for bears. So if, as biologists believe, the bear population is growing, the country will have to figure out how to protect people from bears and bears from people.