Brown bear suspected in attack on 8 calves at stock farm in Hokkaido

Eight calves have been found dead or injured at a stock farm in the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido, possibly attacked by a bear.

Workers at the farm reported to police on Tuesday morning that four calves were found dead in a facility where dairy cows are kept in Betsukai Town, eastern Hokkaido.

Police and local authorities say four other calves were injured, sustaining what appear to be claw marks on their bodies.

Multiple paw prints believed to be those of a brown bear were also found at the site.

When farmworkers inspected the facility at around 4:30 p.m., Monday, they reportedly found nothing unusual. Police suspect the calves were attacked between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

The farm is located about 15 kilometers north of the town's center. The area is studded with stock farms.

The farm raises about 1,000 cows for dairy farmers.

An official of its operating company, Tomosada Yoshiteru, said he was shocked and could not believe the news at first. He said no people were harmed, but his firm will be on alert by having multiple staff members work and patrol the area.

A brown bear called OSO-18 was culled last year in eastern Hokkaido. The bear was believed to have attacked a total of 66 cows from 2019 through 2023.