It’s as if bears have no regard for religious symbolism.

On 12 May, the roof of an Inari Shrine in the northern part of Kasai City, Hyogo Prefecture, was found with part of its roof torn off. Inari Shrines are small shrines that act as remote locations for Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto. Despite their relatively small size, it would take a considerable force to tear into a roof of one in such a way.

Scattered among the wreckage were small bits of a bee hive that appeared to have been devoured by the attacker, which suggests only one possible culprit: Pooh Bears.

However, since my colleagues inform me that “Pooh Bears” are not in fact real, I’m forced to side with the Wildlife Management Research Center (WMRC) in Hyogo, who identified the vandal as an Asian black bear.

According to the WMRC, black bear mating season is during the months of June and July so they can often be founding wandering near civilized areas in search of mates, as well as food for the winter hibernation.

▼ Although…for the record, Winnie the Pooh was named after a black bear from Winnipeg, so I’m not entirely wrong in my analysis.

Image: Wikipedia/Manitoba Provincial Archives

Far from a mere plot device in Disney cartoons, bears really do go to great lengths for the sweet taste of honey. According to a WMRC rep, “They love sweet things and their smell is as sharp as a dog’s. They’re attracted to things with strong odors like rotting food or paint.”

However, rather than comically getting their fat tummies stuck in small holes, real-life bears in search of honey is a far more gritty scene involving the destruction of sacred sites. On 10 June, another Inari Shrine in Kasai had a copper plate torn off and the bee hive resting underneath it, annihilated.

Then, on 17 June, a grave was desecrated because it was standing between a bear and its bee hive. The beast tore down a stand for flowers in its wild pursuit of the golden sweet stuff.

▼ Japanese graves often have permanent flower holders for regular visits

Image: Wikipedia/Akikiki

Although this bear, or group of bears, clearly has a thing against organized religion, such sites weren’t the only one’s affected. An amateur beekeeper in the area woke up one day in May to find their apiary scratched up with large bear-like claw marks.

In spite of the recent destruction, regional wildlife experts are not overly alarmed. Bear sightings are not uncommon at all around the area, but they seldom result in injury. Also, this year the acorn yield is said to be especially low, causing the large animals to go further in search of alternative food sources.

However, they stress the need for residents to be educated about bear safety, of which the first and foremost rule is: Stay the hell away from bears. Beyond that, the WMRC advises removing all fruits and nuts from nearby trees to avoid attracting bears and wearing a bell when walking in the woods.

▼ They can smell a persimmon from two miles away and yet stinky old me can still somehow sneak up on them? Alright, better safe than sorry I guess.

Image: Wikipedia/Zephyris

The damage they’ve caused can thankfully be repaired, but the real tragedy is the bad karma these beasts are racking up. So, let’s all do our part and pray for the bears who know not what they do.

All that bad mojo needs to be cleared up. Otherwise, every time they go to hibernate this year someone will ring the doorbell, and then when they finally do get into bed, Netflix will have removed the movie they were planning to watch before going to sleep. No one deserves that.

Source: Kobe Shimbun Next
Top image: Wikipedia/Grv022, Wikipedia/Zeter114514 (Edited by SoraNews24)