Whale becomes food for bears, image recorded by Shari coast cruise passenger

On September 23, a dead, beached whale was seen being eaten by brown bears at Shiretoko Peninsula in the town of Shari, situated in Eastern Hokkaido’s Okhotsk region. A video was captured by a passenger on a brown bear observation cruise ship that departed from the Aidomari Fishing Port in the town of Rausu.

The video was taken around 10:00 a.m. on September 23. The scene was discovered in the Poromoi district (Shari Town), about five kilometers south of Cape Shiretoko, the tip of Shiretoko Peninsula. From the video, the whale appears to be over ten meters in size, and is thought to be a kind of baleen whale.

According to cruise passenger Sakurai Kenji (58) from Rausu, the dead whale body was already undergoing decomposition and had turned white, and lard was floating in the seawater. A family of three bears and one male bear came to the coast area, scraped off whale hide with their claws, and ate the meat.

Sakurai commented, “I have heard that trout upstream migration is low this year, and a lot of bears are having trouble finding food. If they can build up enough nutrition in their bodies this season, they should be able to make it through the hibernation period.”


Aidomari Fishing Port