Robot wolves protecting Japanese town from bears

UPI – A Japanese town is protecting itself from wandering bears with a pair of unusual guardians – motion-detecting robot wolves.

Officials in Takikawa, on the island of Hokkaido, said concern about an increase of bear incursions into residential neighbourhoods this year led to their purchasing two Monster Wolves, robotic guard canines created by machinery firm Ohta Seiki in partnership with a local university.

The Monster Wolves, which are made of metal and covered in fake fur to make them appear real to other animals, are outfitted with motion detectors that cause them to activate. The wolves then flash red lights in their eyes, move their heads back and forth and emit a series of howling and screeching noises.

“We want to let the bears know, ‘human settlements aren’t where you live,’ and help with the coexistence of bears and people,” Yuji Ota, head of Ohta Seiki, told Japanese newspaper The Mainichi. City officials said the wolves have thus far been effective in preventing bears from entering the town.

Wolves once lived in the wild in Japan, but went extinct in the country during the early 20th Century.

A robot called Monster Wolf, equipped with sensors that can detect bears or vermin, is installed in an effort to scare away bears that have become an increasingly dangerous nuisance in the countryside, in Takikawa on Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido. PHOTO: KYODO