World Japan: Hokkaido city deploys 'monster wolf' robot to scare bears away from residential areas

tom_mai78101

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TAKIKAWA, Hokkaido -- A wolf robot that can roar and flash its eyes red to scare off brown bears entering populated areas has been introduced in this city in Japan's northernmost prefecture after a steep rise in sightings of the animals in residential parts of the city.

The "monster wolf" developed by a firm in the Hokkaido town of Naie and others was installed by the Takikawa Municipal Government in September in a bid to "avoid friction between residents and bears." The initiative marks the first time for the mechanical wolf to be deployed in front of general housing, and since its arrival on the scene there have been no eyewitness reports of bears. An individual connected to its installation said reassuringly, "At the very least it's effective in making residents feel at ease."

The robot was developed through a cooperative project involving the company Ohta Seiki, a precision-machinery maker in Naie, along with Hokkaido University and Tokyo University of Agriculture. It made its debut in November 2016. The finished product resembles a wolf, with a body measuring 120 centimeters long and standing at a height of around 90 cm. When its infrared sensor detects that a wild animal or human is close by, the robot shakes its head and lets out a roar to threaten anything in its surroundings. At present, a total of 62 monster wolf robots are in use from Hokkaido to the southern islands of Okinawa to ward off deer and wild boars that target farming produce.

Read more here. (Mainichi)
 
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