Meet the Robot ‘Monster Wolf’ Fending Off Record-High Bear Attacks
Powered by solar energy, the admittedly frightful Monster Wolf was designed to minimize “friction between residents and bears.” It emits a variety of realistic howls from its perch, complete with glowing red eyes, sharp fangs, and some fairly realistic fluttering fur. Its guttural utterances range from gunshots to a hunter’s voice and a dog’s bark. When a sensor alerts the creature to a nearby human or animal, it sets the terror campaign in motion.
The only thing keeping it from fully resembling a real wolf is its conspicuous lack of legs. At this point, Monster Wolf technology has only advanced far enough to mount the creature a pole, where its swiveling neck frightens bears throughout the area. Its design was inspired by the Japanese wolf, which populated the countryside more than 100 years ago before being hunted to extinction.
First deployed in the town of Takikawa circa 2016, Monster Wolves are now spreading further across Japan due to an increase in bear attacks throughout the country. Last month, Japanese news outlet NHK reported that assaults were the highest they’ve been since records began in 2007. There were 53 injuries reported between April and July alone this year. One Hokkaido resident died after an attack in May.
Officials say the increase in activity likely stems from the bears’ natural habitat lacking many foods that comprise their diet. This sends them into populated residential areas seeking sustenance.
Takikawa reported great success after welcoming their Monster Wolf, with city officials saying at the time not a single bear had been spotted since installation. Many towns across Japan are hoping for a similar result.