Tokyo: A bear wandered through the streets of Sapporo, Japan overnight, mauling four including a man in his 40s who suffered serious injuries to his chest, back and limbs. The animal was subsequently shot dead by hunters on Friday when it stumbled back into the woods.
Before being "exterminated," as the city of Sapporo wrote on Twitter, the bear caused havoc in the city, on a military base and even strolled onto an airport runway, grounding flights.
Multiple calls to police as bear penetrates military facility
Local TV footage showed the bear wandering down a street, being chased by a car, crossing a busy road and forcing its way into the Ground Self-Defense Force's Camp Okadama.
Over eight hours, Hokkaido prefecture police said they received calls about the bear's presence on the streets of Sapporo. Police said in this time, the bear injured a woman in her 80s, a man in his 70s, a man in his 40s and a soldier.
According to the Asahi newspaper, the man in his 40s suffered serious injuries.
The soldier the bear attacked was on guard duty at the base. The ursine trespasser knocked him down and gained entry to the base. The Defense Ministry said the soldier suffered cuts to his chest and stomach but called the injuries non-life threatening.
After the bear tore through Camp Okadama, the bear stumbled onto the runway at an airport nearby. Several flights were grounded as a result.
Afterwards the bear ran into the forest where local hunters shot it dead.
Toshihiro Hamada, an official at Sapporo city environmental department, told AP, "We are sorry that four people were injured."
Not the only bear attack in Japan on Friday
Authorities in Suzaka City in central Nagano prefecture reported an 89-year-old woman was attacked in her garden by a bear, suffering a broken arm.
Officials there advised residents against trying to photograph bears and said, "Please carry bear bells and move in groups, particularly during outings in the morning and evening."
Experts say bears are appearing in inhabited areas more frequently in Japan, especially in the summer, as they go looking for food.
Japan is estimated to have a wild Asian black bear population of well over 10,000, and a far smaller number of wild brown bears.