Nine sika deer die from eating plastic in Japan

Posted by Imogen Searra on 12 July 2019

Japan’s Nara Park is famous for its resident sika deer, attracting thousands of tourists looking to view these peaceful creatures up close. According to the BBC, there are over 1,200 deer roaming freely through the 502-hectare park.

 

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Over the last four months, 14 sika deer have died and 9 of these deaths were caused by ingested plastic bags, reports the BBC.

The Nara Deer Preservation Foundation said that large amounts of plastic bags and food wrappers were discovered in the stomachs of the animals. One deer had over 4kgs of plastic waste in its stomach.

The sika deer are protected by Japanese law and are classified as a national treasure.

 

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Visitors are allowed to feed the animals special sugar-free crackers that do not have plastic packaging, but it is believed that that some people potentially fed them other foods.

Following the death of the animals, a mass clean-up of the park ensued. BBC reports that 31kgs of plastic waste was collected.

Below is an image of the stomach contents of the animal.

Image source: Instagram @chiyon.maki

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