Several plastic bags have been discovered in the stomachs of over half of the 14 wild deer which have been dead since March at the Nara Park in western Japan and have been pushed to guard the local government.
Nine deer have died after swallowing plastic bags, according to the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation. A lot of plastic litter and snacks have been tangled and the highest weight is 4.3 kilograms from the stomachs.
According to Rie Maruko, a veterinarian who belongs to the animal conservation group, their habit of eating plastic bags is probable to be related to the reality that visitors take food from such bags to feed the deer.
Over 1,000 deers are out in the vast park and visitors are permitted to feed them with digestive and sugar-free deer crackers, or “shika sembei” in Japanese, which are sold in neighboring stores.
But some tourists are obviously offering other meals to the deer.
Deer are ruminants and have a four-chambered stomach. If their first chamber is filled up with nondigestive objects, they are not able to digest them or discharge them from their bodies.
As a result, these deer may have died from malnutrition and weakened immune systems, among other factors.
The Nara Prefectural Government is planning to explore the scenario and step up attempts to warn tourists not to feed deer other than the particular meat, such as placing up signs with illustrations, authorities said.
Members of the foundation, meanwhile, frequently patrol the region to safeguard the deer, designated as national treasures, from accidentally swallowing discarded plastic bags or any other products that are not secure to eat.