Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Warm weather wakes up hibernating bears



Warm weather wakes up hibernating bears

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hibernating bears in Japan have started leaving their dens due to difficulties in sleeping caused by the warm winter temperatures. public domain

Warm weather wakes up hibernating bears

Even in January, bears have continued to appear near residential areas in the normally snowy regions of Tohoku, Hokuriku and elsewhere.

Bears usually hibernate from around December to April, but experts say warm winters and record low snow levels are causing bears to wake up and go out to search for food. Local governments are calling on residents to be vigilant, as bear sightings may continue to increase.

A resident of a prefectural housing complex in Mitsuke, Niigata prefecture, called the police emergency number 110 on the morning of January 21 to say that a bear was crouching on the stairs of the complex. A bear about 1m long was found on the landing between the fourth and fifth floors. The animal eventually died after being shot three times with a tranquilizer gun.

The housing complex is close to a kindergarten and school. There is no snow cover in the area this year.

According to the Niigata prefectural government, there have been at least three other sightings in the prefecture this month.

In Yamagata prefecture, there have also been three sightings this month, including one at a parking lot in Yamagata city. According to the Yamagata prefectural government, records going back to 2007 show only one other bear sighting in the prefecture in January 2013.

The Yamagata city government has put up banners near where the sightings occurred to call on residents to be on alert. “With so little snow, I thought bears might appear,” a city government official in charge said. “Normally, we don’t put up these banners in January.”

Solitary bears have been sighted this month in Toyama, Kurobe and Kamiichi in Toyama prefecture; in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Bandai and Kaneyama in Fukushima prefecture; and in Kanazawa.

Hiromi Taguchi, a professor at Tohoku University of Art and Design in Yamagata who has studied the ecology of bears, said hibernating bears apparently leave their dens because they cannot sleep due to warm winter temperatures.

An official at Nei no Sato, an outdoor nature museum in Toyama, said, “With no snow cover, it’s easy [for bears] to gather astringent persimmons and acorns that have fallen to the ground.”

THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN (JAPAN)/ANN

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a