Hokkaido bear comes out of the woods ready to fight.

Bears are sort of the unofficial mascot animal of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture. As a matter of fact, the animals are so strongly associated with the prefecture that the stereotypical souvenir to bring back from Hokkaido is a wooden carving of a brown bear with a freshly caught salmon in its mouth.

But while they can be cute, bears can also be incredibly dangerous, and the latest reminder of that comes in the form of a video taken in the town of Nemuro, in eastern Hokkaido, on the afternoon of April 28, in which a bear suddenly decided to pick a fight with a car, and the car definitely was the one in worst shape afterwards, as shown in this video of the incident.

At around 1 p.m., a man in his 50s and his companion were driving down a dirt road that connects to Route 142 in Nemuro’s Toba district. Once they’d gone about one kilometer (0.6 miles) down the road, a brown bear came sprinting out of the woods and charged their vehicle, a compact kei truck. The driver quickly hit the brakes and brought the truck to a stop, but the bear didn’t slow down and instead slammed full force into the stationary vehicle. Bouncing off the front left fender, the initial impact broke a windshield wiper, and as soon as the bear had regained its footing it was right back on the attack, slapping the windshield with its clawed paw with enough force to crack the glass along multiple lines.

The truck’s front bumper was also damaged, but once the path ahead was clear, the driver hit the gas. The bear wasn’t in the mood to let them get away so easily, though, as it then began chasing after the car as it attempted to speed away.

“It’s chasing us. It’s still chasing us,” the men can be heard saying.

Wild bear attacks aren’t unheard of in Japan, but they typically involve hikers, farmers, or other on-foot individuals, and often the attack is triggered by the bear and human not being aware of each other’s presence until they’re already very close to each other, with the animal attacking more out of being startled than murderous intent. Here, though, the bear had a clear, unobstructed view of the truck from a substantial distance, and the attack is clearly a deliberate choice.

So what caused this violent behavior? Most likely it has to do with the other bear that can be seen for a brief moment right before the attack takes place, shown at the point queued in the video here.

This bear is considerably smaller than the one that attacked the truck, so it’s likely a cub, and experts thing there’s a good chance that the larger bear is its mother. Bear mothers are extremely protective of their cubs, especially when something comes physically between the parent and child. It looks like the cub dashed across the dirt road first, with the larger bear trailing a fair bit of distance behind, enough so that the truck came upon this section of the road when the cub was already into the brush on the left, but the larger bear hadn’t yet emerged from the woods on the right, causing the driver to inadvertently place the truck between the animals and prompting the attack.

Luckily, neither the driver nor his passenger, who had been on their way to gather mountain greens, was injured in the attack. The local authorities are advising that individuals going into the nearby mountain exercise caution and avoid going alone.

Source: NHK News Web
Top image: Pakutaso
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