Dateline: May 28

A rise in bear attacks in Japan has locals hunting for answers, with an innovative bear dog program.

Tonight on Dateline a rise in bear attacks in Japan has locals hunting for answers. One town has an innovative solution.

Japan is experiencing an unprecedented surge in bear attacks, with the highest number reported in more than a century. Last year alone, 212 people were attacked by Japanese black or brown bears, resulting in six deaths. The Akita prefecture has been particularly hard-hit, with 70 attacks recorded last year, more than anywhere else in the country.

The alarming rate of attacks has authorities scrambling to find solutions to keep communities safe.

In Karuizawa, a town 150km west of Tokyo, Picchio Wildlife Research Center has introduced an innovative bear dog program that allows bears and humans to coexist in their respective territories.

First developed at the Wind Bear Institute in the United States, the bear dog program aims to make bears afraid of humans by tracking bear movements and when they get close to human dwellings use the dogs to chase the bear away by barking.

9:30pm Tuesday on SBS.

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