Dangerous mix-up: man pets "dog" and is suddenly attacked by an angry bear
The man fortunately escaped with only his clothes torn, yet this episode could have ended up much worse for him.
It turns out the puppy he had been stroking was actually a collar bear pup.
Its mother immediately reacted to the perceived danger and sprung into action.
According to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, the attack victim had noticed the fur ball from the entrance of the Ichishima Tei park and wanted to give it a little pet.
The full-grown female collar bear then approached him from behind and struck, but luckily she let go of the man quite quickly and he was not seriously hurt.
Niigata has seen more and more encounters between bears and humans lately. In total, there have been nine attacks since April. Not all of them ended as well as this one. A 73-year-old woman was surprised by a bear on her farm in recently and she did not survive the mauling.
These increasingly common incidents are due to both the recovering population of collar bears in the region and the approaching hibernation season.
Park closed until end of month
As humans continue to encroach on the animals' natural habitat in the mountain forests, bears are often forced to move closer to the human territory in their search for food to prepare for the long winter.
The park has now been closed off until the end of October.
Passers-by and park staff who witnessed the attack at close quarters were also unharmed.
Cover photo: Horst Ossinger dpa/lrs