Angler missing in Hokkaido may have been attacked by bear

Police in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido say a missing angler could have been attacked by a bear.

The sport fisherman went missing on Sunday at Lake Shumarinai in the town of Horokanai.

A bear was seen later in the day with waders in its mouth. The long rubber boots are often worn by anglers.

A search team of hunters and fire service officers found human body parts on Monday near the place where the man had gotten off a ferry boat.

Hokkaido police say bear sightings are on the rise this year, and that they received 339 reports up to last Thursday.

That's 40 more than the same period last year, when bears were spotted a record 2,240 times.

Two people have been injured in bear attacks in the prefecture so far this year.

Police say people who go into the mountains to pick edible wild plants often encounter bears between April and June.

Police urge them to go in groups and carry bells or other noisemakers to keep the bears away.

They also warn that if people spot bears, they must not approach the wild animals and should call the police.