Excessive numbers and lack of food prompt Japan to consider culling deer

Feeding deer in Nara when traveling in Japan is one of the most popular itineraries, so reports of conservation groups abusing deer earlier have attracted widespread attention. Recently, there are also reports that due to the proliferation of deer, policies in the future may change to no longer keep deer in captivity for life, but to directly drive them away!

According to a report in Asahi Shimbun, on March 25, Nara Prefecture decided to consider expanding the scope of deer that can be driven away. In order to prevent damage to crops, the live deer that were previously caught would be kept in the fences of Nara Park for life-long breeding. However, due to poor feeding conditions, the enclosures are overcrowded and the deer have become weak. The county will re-examine the practice of life-long breeding.

Deer in Nara have been protected as the "divine deer" of Kasuga Taisha since ancient times, and were designated as a national natural monument in 1957. Nara Prefecture advocates coexisting with deer and designates the area around Nara Park where Kasuga Taisha is located as a "protected area." At the same time, in order to prevent damage to crops, a certain range away from the park is designated as a "managed area," and a maximum of 180 deer can be driven away each year. Deer in the "buffer zone" between the "protected area" and the "managed area" will be caught alive.

Recently, the county government held a committee meeting on the proliferation of deer in the "buffer zone." Committee chairperson Murakami Okamoto proposed a driving away policy, including culling deer. The committee members agreed that details would be decided within this year and planned to implement it next spring.

Up to now, the deer caught alive in the buffer zone have been placed in the "special fence" in Nara Park and cared for by the "Nara Deer Conservation Association" until their death; there are currently about 270 deer in captivity. A veterinarian from the Nara Deer Conservation Association revealed last year that the deer in the "special fence" did not receive sufficient care and food, and their bodies became weaker and weaker. After an official investigation, it was found that the feeding environment was overcrowded, and the relevant departments did indeed feed improperly, resulting in the death of 65 Nara deer in one year. Although they are working hard to improve the feeding method, in order to fundamentally reduce the number of captive deer, Nara Prefecture's Yamashita Makoto said, "We have no choice but to expand the scope of driving away."

Some netizens agree with the county's decision, believing that in the future, if the number of deer continues to rise, it will only become a "harmful animal." Until the number is stable, the practice of expanding the scope of driving away is probably inevitable. However, some netizens pointed out that deer in Nara play an important role in the tourism industry and are also regarded as "divine deer." But just because of the exposed feeding problem, humans have to drive them away, which is really very selfish. It is believed that there should be a better solution, such as setting up several feeding points in the protected area to reduce the number of deer entering the managed area.

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