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Introducing the Wild Brown Bears of Hokkaido

This video, titled “Encountering Wild Brown Bears that are Catching Salmon @ Shiretoko Hokkaido 20131010(野生のヒグマと遭遇 サケを捕食@北海道 知床 20131010)” films two wild brown bears catching salmon that were swimming in the river.
A brown bear is terrestrial mammal of the Ursidae family and their size is about the same as polar bears.
Sub-species of foreign brown bears include Kodiak bears, Grizzly bears and Himalayan bears.

The main sub-spices of brown bears which inhabit Hokkaido are called Ezo brown bears. This video is of wild Ezo brown bears catching salmon at the river, and it is a very rare sight. We hope you enjoy their fishing skills!

What Kind of Animal Is the Ezo Brown Bear?

Image of Ezo brown bear
Photo:Ezo brown bear

One of the most well-known bears in Japan is the Asian black bear. These black bears actually inhabit the main island of japan. Ezo brown bears, on the other hand, inhabit forests in Hokkaido where the climate is generally colder.

Ussuri brown bears are another bear that is a subspecies of brown bears. The Ussuri brown bear is also known as the Ezo brown bear.
The size differs depending on the gender, with male bears being about 1.9 to 2.3 meters tall and weighing 120 kg to 250 kg. Female bears are about 1.6 to 1.8 meters tall, and are actually heavier than than males, weighing between 150 to 160 kg. Some of them are gigantic, weighing in at 450 kg.

The Ezo brown bears inhabiting Japan are the largest kind of terrestrial animal in Japan.
The number of Ezo brown bears is around 2,244 to 6,476 (as of 2013).
The bears are known as omnivorous, and they like to eat fish, meat, and plants as well.
The life span of a wild Ezo brown bear is about 30 years. They tend to live longer than different mammals.

Highlights of Ezo Brown Bears

The video shows the viewers two Ezo brown bears hunting salmon at a river.
It was filmed in October when the bears were getting ready for hibernation.
From 4:21 in the video, we can see bears using both of their paws to catch salmon.

At 0:18, one bear carries a salmon to the side of the river. At 4:54, the bears bring salmon ashore and comfortably enjoy their meals in peace. You'll be surprised by what happens at the end. Be sure to watch the full video so you don't miss out!
The bears were so focused on their hunting that they didn't show any fear of the people filming them. Its incredibly rare that we see footage of Hokkaido's wild brown bears hunting.

Be Aware of Wild Bears When Traveling to Hokkaido!

Image of Bear Caution Sign
Photo: Beware of Bears

In Hokkaido, A study has been conducted to work on how to handle wild Ezo brown bears and ways of coexisting with them.
There are several cases of humans being attacked by wild bears in Hokkaido. If you visit Hokkaido, please be aware that there are wild bears and research the areas in advance.
Before your travels, please make sure that there are no wild bear alerts in the area you are traveling to.

In order to keep bears away, have bells or turn on a radio to show them that humans are around. If you do encounter a wild bear, just think that bears are also afraid of humans. Screaming makes the bear scared, and it will enter into a defensive mode, and might try to attack you. Avoid running away from bears because bears tend to chase what’s running away from them. They can run up to 60km/h so the chance that they will catch you is extremely high .

Instead of running away or screaming, try standing up on top of a rock or a log to make you look bigger and be intimidating. The most effective way to keep the bears away is to use a bear spray. Some people think bears are cute animals, and while this may be true, they are also dangerous as well. Please keep this in mind.

Summary of Hokkaido's Wild Brown Bears

If you are interested in learning more about brown bears, please visit a zoo, such as the Noboribetsu bear park, or the Showa Shinzan bear ranch.

Higuma Doughnuts” is a cafe in Meguro, Tokyo which uses selected ingredients from Hokkaido where brown bears live.
If you visit Hokkaido, please visit a gift store to purchase some Hokkaido souvenirs. Be sure to check out the Ezo brown bears, the video is too adorable to miss!

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 24, 2020
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Ezo Brown Bears Catching Lunch in the Outdoors of Hokkaido! See the 2-Meter-Tall Bears Snatching Fish From a River Right Before Your Eyes!
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