Discovered the remains of a bear stripped of Abies sachalinensis! Mountain forest in Makioka, Suinotsu, Uryu Town (owned by Mr. Morisuke Tanaka)

Thursday, October 12, 2023

In a mountain forest in Makioka, Uryu-cho, Minotsu, owned by 86-year-old Mr. Moriaki Tanaka, a resident of Hokuryu-cho, the bark of an Abies sachalinensis tree was found to have been stripped of its bark. Mr. Tanaka imagines that they are probably traces of bear stripping.

Bears in Hokuryu Town and on the road

Recently, in many districts in Hokuryu Town, information on the appearance of bears has been featured on radio broadcasts.

The top of the Hokkaido Shimbun dated Monday, October 9 featured a large article titled "Brown bears severely short of Shiretoko food," and we were astonished to find that similar bark bear stripping tracks had been discovered in the neighboring mountains!

Tanaka speculates, "One reason for the lack of food may be that forest conditions have changed in recent years, especially the drastic decrease in the number of mountain grapes in the forests."

Bears, which traditionally feed on nuts and grass in the mountains, are now appearing in homes and fields due to lack of food. We need to be very careful nowadays.

Forest in Makioka, Yunotsu, Uryu Town (owned by Mr. Morisuke Tanaka)

When we drove to the site, Mr. Tanaka honks his car horn several times as we enter the mountain forest. He makes our presence known while speaking loudly.

Forest in Makioka
Traces of what appear to be bear scratches
Abies sachalinensis bark
Mr. Moriaki Tanaka, who discovered
Mr. Tanaka checking for traces of what appears to be bear strippings.
Bark remnants of another Abies sachalinensis tree
Bark stripping marks found on several Abies sachalinensis trees in the forest

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◇ Reporting and writing by Ikuko Terauchi (Photography and editorial assistance by Noboru Terauchi)