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The renowned Nara deer of Japan who died from eating plastic bags

The renowned Nara deer of Japan who died from eating plastic bags
Highlights

  • Tourists advised not to feed the animals after plastic waste discovered in the stomachs of several deceased deer
  • Authorities in ancient Japanese capital Nara warn tourists not to feed the wild deer of the city–a significant tourist attraction–after several of the animals died after swallowing plastic bags.

Tourists advised not to feed the animals after plastic waste discovered in the stomachs of several deceased deerAuthorities in ancient Japanese capital Nara warn tourists not to feed the wild deer of the city–a significant tourist attraction–after several of the animals died after swallowing plastic bags.

Large quantities of plastic waste have been discovered in the stomachs of nine out of 14 deers who died since March, According to a community for local conservation of wildlife.

Visitors who fed the animals are supposed to have discarded the bags and wrappers, ignoring signs in English and Chinese warning them to give only approved senbei crackers to the pets that are sold in local stores and do not come in plastic packaging.

According to Kyodo news agency, officials from the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation found masses of bags and other plastic objects inside the stomachs of deceased animals. One of the deer had plastic swallowed 4.3 kg, he added.

The deer are drawn by the smell of food from plastic bags discarded by visitors flocking to Nara to see their sanctuaries and temples and communicate with the estimated approximately 1,300 free-roaming deers in the primary park of the city. Rie Maruko, a vet and member of the conservation group, said the deer died of starvation after their complicated digestive system was damaged by plastic and other foreign objects.

Rie Maruko, a vet and member of the conservation group, said the deer died of starvation after their complicated digestive system was damaged by plastic and other foreign objects.

"The deer who died was very thin and I could feel their bones," Maruko said to Kyodo. "Please don't feed them anything but the named senbei snacks." Nara's deer, renowned for attacking tourists who tease them with food or try to take selfies with them and divine messengers are thought to have been designated as natural treasures in 1957.

Local officials said that they would step up demands not to feed unauthorized deer meals in the midst of a steep increase in tourism, with the number of global tourists to Nara Prefecture increasing nearly tenfold since 2012 to 2,09 million in 2017.

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