On March 23, veterinarians from the Nara Deer Welfare Association found a sickly looking deer near the Todaiji temple in Nara Park, Japan. The next day, she died.

The association shares that when they found the weak deer, they tried to feed her, but she refused. The following day, the 17-year old female Nara deer died and weighed just 30 kilograms.

(Nara Deer Welfare Association)

Autopsy reports of the animal shows that her stomach was entirely filled with hardened plastic that is thought to be made up of polyethylene bags, which weighed 3.2 kilograms in the deer’s stomach.

The veterinarians explained that the plastic bags is the main cause on how it led to the poor animal’s untimely death. Because of it, the deer’s stomach failed to regurgitate, digest and event digest new food.

According to a report by Unilad, eight deer have been autopsied, six of which had plastic in their stomachs and one of them had about 4.3 kilograms of plastic, the largest ever recorded.

(Nara Deer Welfare Association)

Visitors of Nara Park are allowed to feed the deer anything but senbei, which is a type of Japanese rice cracker. However, there have been sightings that tourists hold out plastic bags of food, where the deer sometimes bite into the plastic bags itself.

Deer, just like other animals, are unable to tell the difference between the food and the inedible materials, which is why it is important for visitors to be more careful when feeding animals.

The association developed a “special environmentally friendly bag made from natural materials” for visitors to use if they want to feed the deer at Nara Park.

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