Over-eager tourists are getting themselves injured, too. Deer-related injuries have quadrupled since 2013, rising from around 50 to a record high of 200 in 2018, according to city government statistics. Reflecting the rapid growth in foreign tourist numbers to Japan in recent years, 80% of those injured (paywall) by deer last year were non-Japanese. Most were minor injuries like bitten fingers, but some resulted in bone fractures or worse. “The cause seems to be the growth in tourist numbers,” one Nara Park Office official told Nippon.com.

Park officials have stepped up their efforts in appealing for the public’s help in saving the deer. According to the Japan Times, signs in English, Chinese, and Japanese with tips on how to feed the deer have been put up since last April. There are around 1,360 deer in Nara Park, according to 2018 figures from the Nara Deer Welfare Association.

And plastic is not the only fatal threat facing Nara’s beloved deer. According to numbers from the welfare association, there were 29 traffic-related deer deaths last year. Luckily, that is a big drop from 57 in 2017, possibly due to newly-installed wooden fences (link in Japanese).

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