Nine Nara deer in Japan die after eating plastic bags

  • Published
Deer in Nara ParkImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
More than 1,000 Sika deer live in Nara Park

Nine deer have died in Japan's Nara Park over the last four months after swallowing plastic bags, a wildlife group says.

The Nara Deer Preservation Foundation said they found huge masses of plastic bags and food wrappers in the stomachs of nine of the 14 deer that died between March and June.

One animal was found to have over 4kg (9lbs) of rubbish in their stomach.

Nara, a popular spot for tourists, is home to over 1,200 free-roaming deer.

The Sika deer are classified as a national treasure, and so are protected by law.

Most of them congregate in Nara Park, which is also home to temples and shrines. Visitors are allowed to feed them specially-made sugar-free crackers without plastic packaging.

However, it is thought that some visitors may have fed the deer other snacks.

Rie Maruko from the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation told Kyodo News Agency that tourists often discard food wrappers and plastic bags on the island. The deer then smell the bags, think they are food and then eat them.

On Twitter, the foundation shared a photo of the mass of plastic bags found inside one of the deceased deer.

This Twitter post cannot be displayed in your browser. Please enable Javascript or try a different browser.View original content on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Skip twitter post by 一般財団法人奈良の鹿愛護会

Allow Twitter content?

This article contains content provided by Twitter. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. You may want to read Twitter’s cookie policy, external and privacy policy, external before accepting. To view this content choose ‘accept and continue’.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
End of twitter post by 一般財団法人奈良の鹿愛護会

It is thought that the deer may have died from malnutrition after their stomachs became blocked with plastic.

On Wednesday volunteers took part in a mass clean-up of the park, collecting over 31kg (68lbs) of plastic waste.

This Twitter post cannot be displayed in your browser. Please enable Javascript or try a different browser.View original content on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Skip twitter post 2 by 一般財団法人奈良の鹿愛護会

Allow Twitter content?

This article contains content provided by Twitter. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. You may want to read Twitter’s cookie policy, external and privacy policy, external before accepting. To view this content choose ‘accept and continue’.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
End of twitter post 2 by 一般財団法人奈良の鹿愛護会

Nara prefecture's government is planning to investigate the animals' deaths and set up signs in the park with illustrations to warn tourists about the dangers of feeding the animals food that has not been approved.