Scary Robotic ‘Monster’ Wolves Released in Japan To Stop Bears From Attacking People

Written by Jennifer Geer
Updated: October 31, 2023
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Imagine coming across a large creature with glowing red eyes and menacing growls as you take a nighttime stroll through the country. If you’re in Japan, you may have spotted the “Monster Wolf.” However, not any ordinary creature, this robotic monster wolf is intended to scare away bears from human settlements.

The robot was originally designed to keep wild animals away from farmlands. A YouTube video shows several animals spotting the mechanical contraption and hightailing it back into the forest. In the video, deer, wild boars, a Japanese macaque, and a black bear scamper away after sighting the robot.

Bear attacks in Japan are on the rise. Japanese news outlet NHK reported 53 cases of injuries so far in 2023. Also, a record number of attacks from April to July. So, a few years ago, the robot wolf was placed outside of town on the island of Hokkaido to deter bears from entering the town in search of food.

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Now that bear attacks are happening more often, the city of Takikawa (570 miles northeast of Tokyo) is deploying the robot wolf across the area to keep bears from venturing near people.

How Does the Robotic Monster Wolf Work?

According to Digital Trends, the robot’s design is based on a real wolf that used to live in Japan. Wolves were hunted to extinction in Japan over 100 years ago. Developed by Ohta Seiki Co., the robot is solar-powered and motion-triggered. 

Canis lupus hodophilax

The Japanese wolf (or Honshu wolf) is a subspecies of the gray wolf, hunted to extinction over 100 years ago.

©Momotarou2012 / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

The robot switches on when it detects motion. It roars menacingly, moves its head back and forth, and its eyes glow red. The speaker, which is located on the wolf’s belly, can broadcast 62 sounds ranging from wolf howls to video game effects, to a man shouting. The maximum level the sounds can generate goes up to 90 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a leaf blower.

The wolf doesn’t have movable robotic legs. However, the robot wolf can be mounted on a stand where it guards the area, ready to set off when motion is detected. Night vision cameras confirm that the wolves seem to be frightening away wildlife, including bears. 

Why Are Bear Attacks on the Rise in Japan?

black bear

Bear attacks have been on the rise in Japan.

©APIWICH PUDSUMRAN/Shutterstock.com

According to the BBC, as the population shifts from rural to urban centers in Japan, bears are moving into rural areas. While more and more young people are leaving villages and moving to cities, farmlands become deserted. Thus, the buffers between forests where the bears live and villages full of humans are shrinking.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © SamiPu/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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