Japanese Bear Parks

An overcrowded enclosure at Aso Bear Park, Japan

In Japan, bears are kept in concrete ‘parks’ and forced to beg for food in the name of public entertainment.

Japan’s bear parks were originally set up to care for orphaned wild black and brown bears. But high visitor demand meant park owners continued breeding bears to turn a healthy profit.

The parks are overrun. Staff cannot keep the bears in adequate conditions, and this damages their physical and mental health.

The bears suffer from:

  • Overcrowding – living in cramped and squalid concrete cells.
  • Boredom – the uniformity of the barren concrete and steel enclosures can lead to aggression and madness.
  • Bad diet – the parks provide bears with a poor diet, relying on unsupervised public feeding sessions as the bears main source of food.
  • Injuries and infections – caused by fights over food, boredom and stress.
  • Unnatural behavior – circus shows force bears to perform tricks. Cubs are dressed up for photo opportunities.

WSPA is working with member society JANET to increase pressure on Japan’s bear park owners to improve their welfare standards or face being shut down.

And it is working. In 2006, due to persistent WSPA pressure, a large park in Japan created a new forested area for 20 of their bears.
But we need to do more – hundreds of bears are still suffering in concrete enclosures across Japan.

Help WSPA to help bears

We need you to help us keep the pressure on the owners of Japan’s bear parks and secure a brighter future for these captive bears.

When traveling, never visit any tourist attraction which causes animals to suffer. Read more about being an animal friendly traveler >>

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