Escaped bears kill two women in Japan

A group of bears escaped from their enclosure at a park in northern Japan and mauled two women to death before they were tracked down and killed, police said Friday.

The two victims, employees in their 60s and 70s at the Hachimantai bear park near Kazuno City in Akita prefecture, were believed to have been feeding the bears from outside the concrete fence before several of the animals escaped, The Associated Press reported. The animals may have taken advantage of high-piled snowdrifts to climb over the fence.

The women’s┬ámangled bodies were found hours after a third employee escaped and called for help, according to AP.

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Bear attacks kill in Japan, climate change blamed

At least four people were killed and 80 wounded in bear attacks between April and September in the island-nation, much of which is covered in mountain forests, topping last year’s total of 64 attacks, said broadcaster NHK.

Some 400 bears were shot dead near human-populated areas by authorised hunters on Japan’s far-northern island of Hokkaido alone, where two people were mauled to death by bears earlier this year, a local official said.

In the mountainous central prefecture of Fukushima, northeast of Tokyo, more than 150 bears were shot dead after they encroached on residential areas.

Read the rest of the story: Bear attacks surge in Japan, climate change blamed.