Ezo Brown bear

About Brown Bears in Hokkaido’s National Parks

With regards to encountering a brown bear while climbing, usually, Brown bears will notice humans in advance and will hide out of sight in the thickets waiting for the people to leave the area, without showing their presence. However when visibility is bad due to heavy rain and the sounds of approaching climbers cannot easily be heard, a very dangerous situation can arise.

Ezo Brown bears
Ezo Brown bears

How To Reduce The Chance Of Encountering Brown Bears When Hiking in Hokkaido

It is possible to avoid such an encounter with Brown bears, with a little attention on the part of humans. Thus, when climbing, please pay attention to the following guidelines

    • Obtain information regarding Brown bear’s movement before embarking on a climb, and obey any specific warnings that are issued.
    • One cannot be absolutely certain with regard to the dangers of Brown bears, and personal safety as a result. If you feel that it may not be safe to climb, having listened to any advice that is available, or when climbing, it is important to have the courage to return to a safe area rather than risk being attacked.
    • Acting individually is dangerous. When in a group, it is important to act as a group and to keep together.
    • To avoid stumbling on Brown bears, carry a bell or anything similar to give Brown bears the opportunity to hear your approach and get out of sight.
    • Never use firecrackers or fireworks. Not only can they be the cause of fires, but also they can surprise Brown bears and induce an attack.
    • If possible, avoid climbing in the early morning, the evening, or night, as at these times, A brown bear is actively foraging.
    • Never dispose of the garbage while climbing. Leftovers attract Brown bears and can become the cause of an attack. Remember to bring all trash or leftovers back to an area where they can be safely disposed of.
    • Never climb while under the influence of alcohol. Also never cook or bar-b-q as the strong smell of cooking will also attract Brown bears.
    • Do not climb with dogs or pets

What To Do If You Encounter An Ezo Brown Bear

If you see Brown bears more than a little coolness is required. Depending on how far you are from Brown bears and their activity, your actions will differ. In all cases, all members of your group should stay close together, try not to appear frightened or afraid, and not act surprised or scream.

Shiretoko brown bear
Shiretoko brown bear

Therefore it’s necessary to pay attention to the next points and act accordingly.

        1. Never run. In the case where there is a significant distance between you and Brown bears, act calmly and leave the area without attracting too much attention.
        2. In the opposite case, one should never shout in a loud voice or throw something at Brown bears. Again everyone should stay close together, and slowly back away without turning their back.
        3. If you come face to face with Brown bears, place your belongings on the ground before a brown bear and back away slowly and again do not turn your back. If a brown bear chases after you, throw away any belongings that you have and try to escape
        4. Anything taken by Brown bears becomes its property and any attempt at retrieval is extremely dangerous.
        5. In case you come across a cub, be very careful too, as its mother is almost always nearby. Try not to surprise the young brown bear.
        6. Do not return to the location where you met Brown bears for a long period of time. It is necessary to act calmly and to keep on the lookout for Brown bear activity until you are in a safe area.
        7. Having safely returned down from the mountain, it is important to report any Brown bears sightings to the authorities, as this will be invaluable information for other climbers and park personnel.
Brown bear footprints winter
Brown bear footprints winter