Japan’s Famous Nara Deer Park is Being Ruined By Rude Tourists

© Benny Luo

The Nara government revealed on February 8 that the famed and often polite deer in Nara Park – home to nearly 1,500 wild deer – have become quite frustrated.

Nara Deer park

Injuries caused by deer bites have gone up from 118 cases from the previous fiscal year to 164 cases between April 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018, the Japan Times reported. Of the 164 reported cases, 80% of them are tourists, most of them Chinese.

Nara Deer park

Some of these attacks, said government official Yuichiro Kitabata, were partly due to tourists’ eagerness to take good pictures with the wild deer. They mostly try to lure the deer with shika senbei (deer crackers) only to hide them once the animal approaches. This way, they believe they can get a nice selfie.

© Benny Luo

Obviously, the animal would get irritated and impatient, which often leads to a light bite either on the palm of their hands or their buttocks.

Such cases are increasing greatly. … Some people think the deer are tame and trained not to harm people,” Kitabata told Japan Times, adding, “but they are wild animals.”

Nara Deer Attack
via YouTube / mimota

There are also cases where some tourists would intentionally do something that may harm the deer, which in turn would show aggression towards them like climbing on the animal’s back. Signboards to prevent this from happening have been spread across the park, but to no avail.

© Benny Luo

The deer basically won’t attack people unless we do something to them,” he continued. “They are used to people. So, it’s OK for tourists to feed them shika senbei in a normal way … but please keep in mind that they are wild animals.”

via Wikimedia Commons / Immanuel Giel (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The number of tourists visiting the park has soared from 285,000 in 2012 to 1.65 million in 2016, the Japan National Tourism Organization reported. Of its 1.65 million visitors, 42% of them are Chinese, 18.3% are from Taiwan, and 10.3% are from South Korea.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons / Humanoid one (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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