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Bear killed in Japan after occupying yard of private home for over a day

In this photo provided by the town of Sayo, Hyogo Prefecture, a bear is seen lying on the deck of a private home in the community.

SAYO, Hyogo -- A bear was killed by authorities here on Nov. 1 after spending at least 28 hours on the property of a private home.

    A 73-year-old resident of the mountain home spotted the bear on his deck at about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 31 and called police. Officers from the Tatsuno Police Station as well as town and prefectural district officials arrived on the scene, and considered using a tranquilizer to sedate the animal. However, the option was dismissed due to the risk the bear could attack someone in the about 10 minutes it takes for the drug to take effect.

    Meanwhile, the town was using the local disaster prevention wireless service to warn residents of a bear in the area.

    The animal occasionally moved off the deck to the home's yard before coming back to the deck to lie down. Four people including Sayo town officials continued to observe the bear through that night, while the couple living in the home slept in a different building on the property.

    At about 2:45 p.m. on Nov. 1, authorities shot the bear with a tranquilizer, and then put it down.

    The animal, a female Asian black bear, was estimated to be 12 years old and infirm with age. There were claw marks on persimmon trees on the property, and it appears the bear was there to feed on the fruit before going into hibernation for the winter.

    Sayo, a town of some 16,000 in western Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, is about 80% forest.

    "We've had reports of bear sightings, but I've never heard of one staying around a house," a town employee said.

    (Japanese original by Hiroyuki Abe, Himeji Bureau)

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