Japan’s famous deer in the city of Nara are victims of their unsought popularity. Fourteen deer have died in Japan’s ancient capital since March and nine of them had large amounts of plastic in their stomach, said the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation.
Visitors to Nara Park are encouraged to feed the free-roaming deer package-free crackers sold on site, but some people have been disregarding the signs that say not to feed the deer anything but the crackers, putting the animals in danger. Discarded wrappers and plastic bags that contained prohibited food attract the deer due to the lingering smell of food, and are later eaten by them.
According to Kyodo News, the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation found a staggering 9.4 pounds of plastic in one of the deceased deer’s stomach.
There are almost 1,200 deer roaming freely in Nara Park and visitors are allowed to approach, but they have been known to attack those who get too familiar.