Wild Bears Create Panic for Japanese Residents

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Local hunters in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido shoot dead two brown bears found strolling around an urban area. There has been an alarming increase in bear sightings in many cities.

Japan is on high alert for wild bears following numerous sightings and attacks in urban areas.

In the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, three brown bears were found roaming the streets of Shari City on Monday.

Many residents in the city saw a mother bear and a female cub, both about five feet long.

"When I got off at the parking lot, the bear was right in front of me about 160 feet away."

Hunters searched the city and finally shot the mother and the cub in the woods near a local school.

A city official says one of the three bears is still hiding and they are searching for the missing one.

"It's really scary. I'm worried because the children are here at the school."

Bears are not uncommon in Japan and there's been over seven thousand sightings in the last six months, nearly double from last year.

57 people have been injured in bear attacks this year but no one has been killed.

Wildlife experts say the appearance of bears may have been triggered by food shortages in the mountains and forests they usually inhabit.

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