Photo: Pakutaso
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'Ninja Bear' has been attacking dairy farms in Hokkaido for three years

14 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido is home to much of the country’s bear population. But while there are a lot of bears in Hokkaido, only one of them is known as the “Ninja Bear.”

No one has ever seen the Ninja Bear directly, but images of the stealthy animal were captured on security footage in the town of Shibecha this past July, as shown in the video below at the 7 and 12-second marks. This was the first time the bear had been seen since 2019, when it was also seen on security camera footage in the town (as shown at the 26-second mark).

But while it’s the Ninja Bear’s skill at avoiding detection that earned it its nickname, the moniker would be just as appropriate for its penchant for midnight assassinations. Based on paw tracks, DNA samples from fur and droppings, and attack methodology, the Ninja Bear is suspected of roughly 60 attacks on dairy cows at farms in Shibecha and the neighboring town of Akkeshi.

The Ninja Bear is also known as Oso 18, a reference to its initial on-camera sighting taking place in Shibecha’s Ososhibetsu district and the fact that its front paw tracks measure 18 centimeters across. That makes it an especially large bear for Japan, with experts estimating its weight is about 300 kilograms.

▼ The Ninja Bear’s tracks, and a dairy cow that was clawed by the bear but survived the attack.

Sixty bear attacks on livestock in the course of three years in two small towns is an exceptionally high number, according to Masami Yamanaka, director of Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Brown Bear Association. In an average year, the rest of Hokkaido as a whole sees only about a dozen or so such incidents, he says.

Also unusual is what the bear does after making a kill. Yamanaka says that ordinarily a bear that makes a kill larger than what it can eat at one feeding will remain in the area until it gets hungry again. The Ninja Bear, though, often eats just a portion of the cows it kills and then disappears back into the forest, only for its next attack to take place in a different part of the two-town area.

▼ The map with markers here shows where some of the incidents have taken place.

The Ninja Bear is also suspected to be adept at walking in rivers so as not to leave tracks, and in an attack that took place in July appears to have known to dig a hole in the soil to slip underneath an electrified fence. Its unpredictable movement has frustrated hunters’ animal-control efforts, and at least one dairy farm has deployed one of Japan’s robot Monster Wolves as a precaution.

Despite their omnivore status, it’s unusual for bears in Hokkaido to attack dairy cows, especially with the frequency that the Ninja Bear is striking. Yoshikazu Sato, a professor of wildlife ecology at Rakuno Gakuen University, has expressed concerns regarding bears’ mental capacity to learn from each other’s behavior (such as cubs being taught how to hunt by their mothers). If another bear were to observe the Ninja Bear successfully attacking dairy cows, or come across the carcass of one following an attack, they could in turn begin copying the behavior, essentially giving rise to a ninja bear clan.

Sources: YouTube/ANNnewsCH, Tele Asa News via Yahoo! Japan News, Yahoo! Japan News/HBC Hokkaido Hoso, YouTube/STVニュース北海道

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Bear sightings skyrocket in Japanese town feuding with local hunting association

-- Death of a Japanese man attacked by bear sparks conversation about what to do when facing off with one

-- Old Japanese man fends off bear attack with his impressive karate skills

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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The hunter who will take this beast down will become pretty famous i suspect.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I am waiting for the TV show called "Ninja Bear Clan versus Robot Monster Wolf".

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Interesting coincidence that the word "bear" in Spanish is also oso, I guess not so hard to happen for three letter words.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Just like most Japanese, this bear has developed a penchant for beef…

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Amazing the robot-fearing wolf.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No real winners here. The bear is just doing what bears do and the farmers are losing cows. After the recent interest in this case every game hunter in Japan will be after this poor bear!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Could be possible that some of those killings are by humans using the bear story as a cover?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Nothing a 30-aught-6 and a steady hand couldn't handle...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This news is almost unbearable, and the steaks couldn't be higher.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

If another bear were to observe the Ninja Bear successfully attacking dairy cows, or come across the carcass of one following an attack, they could in turn begin copying the behavior, essentially giving rise to a ninja bear clan.

An out of control ninja bear clan doesn't bear thinking about. Damn it, I'm moving south.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Even the bears know that beef, pork, and chicken are good for you.

In some places in the UK, children are served insects. Australia also plans to introduce insects to elementary school lunches. Let’s do our share in protecting the environment for sustainable development. Sit down and eat your bugs! LOL

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This remake of Kung Fu Panda really goes to some dark places, eh?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

An out of control ninja bear clan doesn't bear thinking about. Damn it, I'm moving south.

What, and risk monkey attacks instead?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Definitely has to be shot, and shot, trapped or baited soon. It appears that this 300kg bear kills not purely to survive, but for fun, as evidenced by eating just a little and then taking off.

It definitely has a taste for blood and thrill killing - and needs to be eliminated before a human is next.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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