The Deadliest Brown Bear — Cost of Countermeasures in Hokkaido Exceeds 500 Million Yen | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Deadliest Brown Bear — Cost of Countermeasures in Hokkaido Exceeds 500 Million Yen

The year 2023 will be like this!

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The latest image of OSO18 taken by a surveillance camera last August. He is in the middle of marking, standing up and rubbing his back against a tree.

The first confirmed case of OSO18, the deadliest brown bear, occurred in July 2019. A dairy cow weighing 400 kg was found dead on a dairy farm in Osotsubetsu, Shibecha Town. Since then, OSO18 has attacked 31 farms and 65 cows over the past four years. The total cost of the damage is estimated to be at least 23 million yen, and more than 500 million yen is needed for countermeasures.

In the area where OSO18 has appeared, a further threat is predicted: a copycat bear of OSO18 may appear. Professor Yoshikazu Sato of Dairy Agricultural University, who specializes in research on brown bears, says, “In this area, deer have been known to die.”

In this area, there were originally many bears that ate deer carcasses and young, but it is thought that there were few cases of attacks on large animals such as dairy cows. Perhaps OSO18 also first came across a cow, a weak domestic animal, and it was discovered that cows can also be eaten. It is also possible that other bears will soon eat cattles like the one attacked by OSO18 and then attack the livestock themselves.

The local people are trying to catch OSO18 before it does so, but the bear is so intelligent and wary that it will not be caught in a trap. Even the surveillance cameras have only succeeded in capturing the animal three times so far.

The longer it takes, the greater the threat. That is the danger of the OSO baby.

“The dominant male in a bear society will leave behind a number of females and cubs in a single season.” The high intelligence and alertness of OSO 18 suggests that he is a skilled male. Bears give birth to one to three cubs at a time, so it is not surprising that there have been about 10 cubs in the last four years. The female will do the raising, but there will be more bears that carry the OSO18 genes,” he said.

For the sake of the residents of the province living in Osotsubetsu, a resolution is needed as soon as possible.

From the January 20 and 27, 2023 issues of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Shibecha Town

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