YouTuber apologises over 'dangerous' Uber Eats stunt with wild bear

The mother bear featured in the viral video paid the ultimate price.

A YouTuber, an Uber Eats order, and a bear are at the centre of a controversy that’s made headlines across Japan.

In May, Ruko Hada filmed himself taking his newly arrived order of pizza, chips and Coke into a forest near a residential area where bears are known to live. The species is known to be able to smell carcasses from over 30km away, so unsurprisingly a large female came walking into frame.

The young man fled the scene, but hid in his car and continued to shoot as the 97kg mother bear gently knocked down his table and began eating his pizza. What happened next resulted in the video being pulled from YouTube overnight and Mr Hada making a five-minute apology.

Two images show Ruko Hada shocked by the bear.
Ruko Hada came under heavy criticism after eating his Uber Eats order in bear territory. Source: RukoHada/YouTube

Mr Hada, who is known for his nature videos, said in his apology he did not expect the bear to wander towards his food. He claims to have been just trying to shoot a video showing him answering fan questions while eating Uber Eats.

But not everyone is convinced the video wasn't staged and at least one high profile animal activist has called the YouTuber's actions "unforgivable".

Bear pays ultimate price for Youtuber's attack video

In his "bear attack" video, Mr Hada is heard exclaiming how dangerous the situation is. The video became a sensation, attracting viewers and his following quickly soared to over 100,000 users. In a subsequent clip, he accused the bear of going on a rampage.

While feeding bears is illegal in the north island of Hokkaido, the YouTuber became famous from his video and he appeared on national television.

Unfortunately, the bear he featured in his video paid the ultimate price.

The bear was filmed eating the pizza by Mr Hada who was hiding in his car. Source: RukoHada/YouTube
The bear was filmed eating the pizza by Mr Hada who was hiding in his car. Source: RukoHada/YouTube
A screenshot shows the collapsed table and pizza boxes on the ground.
The YouTuber described the situation as "dangerous" after the bear ate his pizza. Source: RukoHada/YouTube

After Mr Hada's antics gained traction online, dozens of Japanese began filing reports about bears in around Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo, leading to safety concerns. So rangers set a trap to capture the mother bear.

On July 8, she wandered into a cage and she was subsequently shot dead. They warned it is policy that if any of her cubs wander into traps they will also have to be killed. Regulations stipulate they be killed when lured into residential areas by food, garbage or crops.

The string of events that led to the bear's death were linked back to Mr Hada's video and he received widespread condemnation for his actions. Many Japanese raised concerns the bear's three cubs would now starve to death.

Amid growing pressure, Mr Hada apologised for making trouble for the city's residents and told his fans he will do his best not to make trouble again.

City expanding into bear habitat

The city of Sapporo is expanding its borders into wilderness areas, so it's highly unusual to observe a mother bear who can find enough food to raise three cubs. The normal is just one, sometimes two cubs.

Struggling to find nutrients in what's become an increasingly urban environment, many activists were not surprised she was attracted by the pizza.

YouTuber's antics slammed as 'unforgivable'

Ren Yabuki, the founder of animal welfare group Life Investigation Agency said filming the video was "unnecessary" and that it resulted in a bear family being "destroyed".

“Due to the actions of this YouTuber, a mother brown bear was killed, and her three cubs have lost their mother and continue to roam alone looking for something to eat,” he told Yahoo News Australia.

“It is unforgivable and outrageous that the YouTuber is putting a rare wild animal in such danger.”

A trail camera showing the mother and her three cubs.
Unusually the mother bear had managed to raise three cubs. Source: Supplied

Call for YouTube to pull down videos that harm animals

Internationally, content creators often use wild animals to get likes and clicks. Often they will stage fake situations in which they rescue animals from harm. Yahoo does not suggest this is what Mr Hada was doing.

Mr Yabuki says animal exploitation videos are a particular problem in Japan and he is calling on YouTube to clamp down on them.

“In Japan, YouTubers often kill animals for the number of views and advertising revenue, which is very problematic,” he said. “YouTube should tighten regulations to control videos that use lives of animals."

YouTube responds to animal cruelty videos

Responding to the issue of fake animal rescue videos uploaded to its site, YouTube told Yahoo it has never allowed content that's "violent or abusive toward animals".

In 2021, it expanded regulations to outlaw videos that show "a human maliciously causing an animal to experience suffering when not for traditional or standard purposes such as hunting or food preparation".

"This includes stronger enforcement guidelines on staged animal rescue channels and videos, which had been flagged to us as a growing trend," a spokesperson for the company said.

This regulation was enforced on Friday when Yahoo flagged two videos showing a kitten being "rescued" from inside a well. Two channels hosting the videos were given a strike in accordance with the platforms' three-strike penalty system.

Last year, social media company Facebook refused to remove a video showing a monkey being "rescued" by a dog from inside a log.

Animal welfare charity Four Paws International recommends you take the following steps if you see similar videos:

  • Flag the content as offensive with the website itself.

  • Do not comment.

  • Do not watch.

  • Do not share.

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