Japanese authorities said they have deployed drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to track bears after a series of dangerous encounters with humans, local media said on Tuesday.
Local citizen groups and the fire department in Japan’s Ishikawa province are using the drones to spot bears, newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.
Thermal imaging helps find bears in the dark and in tall grass, the report said. When a bear is spotted, the animal is then chased away with fireworks, it said.
The drones were deployed in Ishikawa after a series of bear attacks on humans.
Bears are also becoming a nuisance elsewhere in Japan. In the northern province of Niigata, an elderly woman was recently killed by a bear while working on her farm.
Experts say bears are more likely to approach human settlements before hibernating if they cannot find enough food in the mountain forests.
Shrinking rural populations due to Japan’s demographic changes also play a role in pushing bears to seek sustenance in urban environments.