Police in Hokkaido, Japan, are looking for any trace of a missing angler who they suspect was devoured by a bear after a human head was found near the lake where he was fishing.
Toshihiro Nishikawa, 54, was last seen on Sunday going off on a fishing excursion on Lake Shumarinai, an artificial lake in Shumarinai Prefectural Natural Park, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo News. When a local boat operator dropped him off, he was alone.
Later that day, one of the operator’s employees raised the alarm after seeing a bear with a pair of waders dangling from his mouth. The employee tried to contact Nishikawa, but the angler did not respond.
According to Yahoo News, local police began searching for the bear, and one animal was slain on Monday, according to a local official. During their hunt, the team did come upon a human head. It is now being investigated to see if it belongs to Nishikawa.
The Ussuri brown bear, a somewhat smaller relative to the grizzly found in North America but considerably larger than the Japanese black bear seen on the mainland, lives in Hokkaido.
They are normally afraid of people, but according to Hokkaido police, sightings are increasing, with 339 reports so far this year, 40 more than the same period in 2022.