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Sapporo gov't mulls shooting bears in residential areas

A Hokkaido brown bear is seen walking around a residential area in Sapporo's Minami Ward, Hokkaido Prefecture, on Aug. 8, 2019, at around 2 a.m. (Photo courtesy of the Sapporo Municipal Government)

SAPPORO -- With continuous Hokkaido brown bear sightings in Sapporo's Minami Ward, the city government launched efforts to drive off the animals on Aug. 12, and is considering allowing the animals to be shot with hunting rifles in residential areas during the day.

Firing hunting guns in residential areas or at night is restricted under the Protection and Control of Wild Birds and Mammals and Hunting Management Law. But the Hokkaido Prefectural Police can authorize them for use after putting in place safety measures.

Until now, the bears had only been seen entering residential areas at night, but due to a sighting of one as it loitered in a neighborhood around 8 a.m. on Aug. 12, when people were going about their daily business, it was decided the level of danger posed by the animals had increased.

Hokkaido brown bears have been repeatedly spotted since the beginning of August, and have caused disruptions including destroying home garden patches. The Sapporo Municipal Government set up two cage traps in surrounding area for the animals, but the move has not resulted in a successful capture so far.

(Japanese original by Chie Yamashita, Hokkaido News Department)

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