A 74-year-old woman foraging for wild plants in a mountain in northern Japan was mauled to death by an Asian black bear.
The woman was found dead with claw and bite marks consistent with a bear attack, bringing the number of fatalities from bear attacks in the area to four in the last three weeks.
The Asahi Shimbun reports:
The woman, identified as 74-year-old Tsuwa Suzuki from Towada, Aomori Prefecture, went missing after apparently venturing out to gather edible wild plants.
Police mounted a search operation the same day, during which a bear was shot and killed by a member of a local hunting club just 20 meters from where her body was found.
Suzuki’s mauled remains were found in a mountainous area of this city in the northeastern part of Akita Prefecture.
Her injuries had all the hallmarks of a bear attack.
She was found in the same area where three men who had gone to gather bamboo shoots were found dead on May 21, 22 and 30. Their bodies also bore injuries consistent with a bear attack.
The animal shot dead was an adult female Asian black bear measuring 1.2 meters long and weighing about 70 kilograms. It was believed to be around 6 years old.
The bear will be examined to ascertain if it was responsible for any of the four deaths.
Sightings of Asian black bears in Akita and five other prefectures that make up the northeastern Tohoku region exceeded 800 between April 1 and June 3, up 60 percent from the same period the previous year.
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