They say to deter a bear you should stand your ground and make a lot of noise. A small town in Japan has taken this advice one step further – by employing robot animals to scare away neighbouring bears.
The citizens of Takikawa, located on the northern island of Hokkaido, have already experienced two fatal bear attacks in 2020, with dozens of other encounters reported.
The Guardian reports that bear sightings are at a five year high in the town. This is likely due to a shortage of acorns this season which has driven the bears closer to human settlements to forage for food.
The bears are also more active at this time of year as they are headed into hibernation and need to stock up on snacks for the winter. How very relatable.
The local government called an emergency meeting last month to figure out how to address these nuisance wild bears. And what does one do in this situation? Ah yes, deploy the mechanical wolves.
The Monster Wolves sit atop robotic platforms and are 65cm long and 50cm tall. The robots have realistic wolf fur with glowing red eyes and bared fangs which move when activated by its motion sensor.
They also have flashing lights and emit a variety of terrifying wolf howling sounds. The sounds also cycle through 60 different varieties to ensure local animals don't become desensitised to the noises. Check them out below if you would like to have nightmares for days.
【動画あり】オオカミ型ロボット「モンスターウルフ」 効果が証明され本格導入へ 設置中の食害はゼロhttps://t.co/QNrPW9V4jl
— sakamobi.com (@sakamobi) March 21, 2018
Japanese wolves used to roam the northern islands of Japan but were hunted into extinction ages ago. Two Monster Wolf robots were purchased to defend this town. According to city officials, there have been no bear encounters since.
Apparently, the maker, Ohta Seiko, has sold over 70 units since 2018. Who knew the monster wolf robot business would take off like this?