Unfortunately, the deer died the following day. An autopsy revealed that its stomach contained what appeared to be hardened polyethylene bags, which weighed a total of 3.2 kilograms (7 pounds).
“Sometimes, garbage is found in the stomach of a weakened deer. However, it’s unusual to see such a large amount of it,” said Rie Maruko, the veterinarian who performed the autopsy, according to the 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.”
Signs in Nara Park prohibit visitors from feeding deers anything other than senbei crackers, which are sold by vendors throughout the area. However, rulebreakers ignore such warnings at the expense of the animals, feeding them food out of plastic bags, which they apparently bite into.
Since March, six of eight Nara deer that died from unknown causes had plastic bags in their stomachs. According to SoraNews24, the largest clump weighed 4.3 kilograms (9.5 pounds).
For now, the association appeals to visitors to be more careful of what they feed deers. Additionally, people are reminded to take their litter with them.
To reduce plastic usage, the association also developed eco-friendly “Otomo” bags, which can be used to carry things around in the area. They are sold in souvenir stores for 1,350 yen ($12.33).
Featured Images via Twitter / @nara_aigokai (left image representation only)
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