Seeing Japan’s Nara Park full of deer isn’t exactly an anomaly, but those deer having the park entirely to themselves is a much rarer sight.
Nara Park is famous for the more than 1,000 sacred deer that roam the 1,204-acre grounds. The deer typically share the park with large crowds of tourists, who are allowed to give them treats, but these are quieter times. Amid Japan’s COVID-19 lockdown, the deer are finally enjoying some peace and quiet.
While locals are still allowed to visit the park, they must now observe social distancing, so crowds there aren’t nearly as large. Six weeks ago, Japanese photographer Kazuki Ikeda captured the deer enjoying their natural habitat without human interruption, resting among the petals of the pink blossom trees in a video that seems to be straight out of a fairytale.
All around the world, the dramatic reduction in foot traffic has emboldened animals to take over the city streets. Goats descended on a town in Wales, and mountain lions roamed freely through the streets of Boulder, Colorado. In Nara, the lockdown is having a similar effect. While the deer aren’t straying from their habitat, they find themselves in a different-looking world, as humans are now forced to observe them from a distance.