A wolf-like robot dubbed "Monster Wolf" photographed in 2017. An updated model was recently installed in the town of Takikawa on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. The robot's motion sensor triggers flashing red LED eyes and a selection of 60 sounds aimed to frighten animals back into the wild. Photo Credit: Toru Yamanaka / AFP via Getty Images)

Technology Japan26. November 2020

A Robot Wolf With Glowing Eyes Keeps (Real) Bears at Bay

A town in Japan purchased mechanical wolves to counter the dangerous bear-human interactions, keeping the marauding animals at bay, and protecting its civilians.

“We want to let the bears know, ‘human settlements aren’t where you live,’ and help with the coexistence of bears and people,” says Yuji Ota, the head of the Japanese machinery maker Ohta Seiko that produces the robotic wolves dubbed “Monster Wolf” installed in the Japanese town of Takikawa.

If the robot’s motion sensor is tripped, its LED eyeballs glow red, its head swivels and a loudspeaker blares one of the 60 loud noises ranging from howls to heavy machinery. According to the city officials, there have been no bear encounters since the installation in September. Bears have been luring towards human settlements looking for food because deforestation has shrunk the animal’s habitat.

Smithsonian Magazine

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