A 17-year-old deer in Japan’s famous Nara Deer Park died from eating plastic trash left behind by visitors.
A Sora News article dated May 27, 2019, revealed that on March 23, a sickly looking deer was discovered near Todaiji Temple inside Nara Park. Although veterinarians attempted to get the deer to eat, the 17-year-old female deer refused and died the next day.
An autopsy later revealed a large clump of hardened plastic weighing 3.2kg in the deer’s stomach. Because of all the plastic in its gut, this deer basically starved to death.
The Nara Deer Welfare Association tweeted the plastic mass image and encouraged tourists to stop littering in the park.
Here’s what the association wrote: “This might be sudden, but what do you think this is? These are plastic bags found in the stomach of a deer that died recently. The bags weigh 3.2kg.”
Please see the staff blog “Stop littering at Nara Park.”
Rie Maruko, a veterinarian, told Asahi Shimbun: “The deer was old, and it is possible she died of old age. But she was skinny and her fur was dull. Apparently, she couldn’t take in enough nutrition because her stomach was blocked by the plastic bags.”
Deer are unable to distinguish between food and plastic, so when visitors carry plastic bags containing food, the deer will smell the food that was in the bag and eat the bag thinking it’s food, according to a blog post translated by Sora News.
The Nara Deer Welfare Association created an eco-friendly tote bag that is produced from natural materials to prevent littering and safeguard the Nara Park deer from waste consumption.
The Otomo bag is made of mosquito net fabric and bears an adorable pattern imitating the bag of a deer. It is reusable and is light enough to fold into a tiny form, makes it easy to carry around.
Here’s what the tweet says:
“This is an eco bag that protects the deer.
A bag made of mosquito net fabric with the spotted pattern on a deer ♪
Bring it along when you take a walk at the Nara Park, ok?”