Watch Japanese rock climber battle black bear halfway down mountain
Japanese black bears make their homes in trees and on steep slopes, and the climber accidentally got too close for comfort
A climber encountered a bear when descending a mountain in Japan earlier this month, and had to fend the animal off without losing his grip on the rock. The man was recording his climb with a helmet-mounted action camera, and shared footage of the encounter on YouTube after making it back to base safely.
The man was climbing Mt Futago, a dormant volcano in Japan's Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, west of Tokyo, when the attack took place. In the video, which you can watch below, the man is making his way down when a black bear suddenly emerges from the vegetation and charges at him.
The climber fends it off with blows to the face (the best strategy if you are attacked by a black bear), then climbs back up to the ridge above and looks around anxiously for any sign that it might have followed.
The clip was uploaded to YouTube (opens in new tab), and later shared on Reddit (opens in new tab). The climber says that he was invading the bear's territory, and it was only acting naturally when presented with a potential threat.
The Japanese black bear is different from black bears found in the United States, and lives in mixed and deciduous mountain forests. It has become endangered due to habitat loss from deforestation, persecution, and road traffic accidents. Eastern Honshu is the only place where they still have a significant population, and there are believed to be fewer than 10,000 remaining.
According to Bear Conservation (opens in new tab), they are mainly nocturnal, which helps avoid encounters with humans. They build nests on steep slopes (like those of Mt Futago) and in trees, which they use for resting, eating, and sleeping.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).