Asian Black Bear Spotted at the Tokyo Olympics
Officials have been unable to capture an Asian black bear that’s been frequenting an Olympic softball stadium
An Asian black bear startled organizers of the Tokyo Olympic. Early this Tuesday, a security guard spotted a bruin at Azuma Sports Park, which is just outside of the Japanese city of Fukushima. The bear returned to the venue on Wednesday shortly before an official Olympic softball game between Japan and Australia. The bear’s presence caused a stir, though it didn’t appear to be aggressive, and the softball game took place as scheduled. (Japan won handily).
“We couldn’t find or capture the bear, and while there won’t be any spectators at the stadium, we are on alert and searching for the bear around the site,” a spokesperson told AFP.
The venue’s guards spent the night searching for the bruin but were unable to locate it. They then blasted music and lit firecrackers to keep the bear away.
An Asian black bear is a medium-sized ursine species that’s also known as the “moon bear” or “white-chested bear,” for its distinctive crescent patch of white fur on its chest. The Japanese black bear is a relatively small subspecies of the Asian black bear. Japanese black bears are predominately herbivorous and can reach weights of up to 260-pounds. As of 2018, it’s believed that between 15,000 and 20,000 black bears roam Japan.
Japan has seen a spate of black bear encounters within the last year. In 2020, two people were killed and 158 injured by bears, which also cause an average of 26.7 million yen—or $242,432 dollars— in crop damage each year. This June, a bear went on a rampage in the Northern Japanese city of Sapporo. It ran onto a military base and injured four people before members of a local hunting group helped authorities kill it. Sapporo is planning to host this summer’s Olympic marathon.