Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Deers of Nara and the true Masters of Nara (it's not the deers).

[Was surprised to see this news!]

Deer bites to tourists prompt Japan park to issue feeding tips

April 3, 2018
(Mainichi Japan)

NARA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Nara Park in western Japan began offering tips Tuesday on how to safely feed wild deer inhabiting the park amid a growing number of foreigners reporting getting injured by the animals.

The 660-hectare park encompassing the famous Todaiji Temple and Kasugataisha Shrine has been a major tourist attraction as visitors can give special crackers to over 1,000 deer on the premises.

But its popularity has led to a record 180 injury reports in fiscal 2017, with 138 of them involving foreigners, including a number of Chinese, according to the park.

Given the large proportion of foreigners, the Nara prefectural government set up instruction panels in English, Chinese and Japanese at stands where visitors buy the crackers, telling them to give the food immediately as teasing would make the deer angry.

It also urges feeders to show their hands to deer to let them know the food is finished.

Caroline Kaiser, a graphic designer from Luxembourg who is now on her third trip to Nara, welcomed the move, saying she always gets unsettled when trying to feed the deer that gather around her. On her latest visit, the 43-year-old said, she was bitten on the buttocks.

[Cheeky deers!]

The deer at the park are protected as a national treasure.

[This is not a new problem. From a news article last year:]

More foreign tourists injured by deer at Nara Park

May 6, 2017
(Mainichi Japan)

NARA -- A record high of 121 people were injured by deer at Nara Park in fiscal 2016, up 29 people from the previous fiscal year, a survey by the Nara Prefectural Government has shown.

The rise reflects an increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting Nara. Of those injured by deer last fiscal year, over 70 percent, or 88 people, were foreigners. By comparison, 12 foreign visitors were injured in fiscal 2013.

According to the prefectural government's Nara Park Management Office, of the 121 people who were hurt by deer in fiscal 2016, 79 were about to or were in the midst of feeding "shika senbei" (deer crackers) to the deer, or had just finished feeding the deer.

Of those who were injured, 88 suffered minor injuries that merely required some disinfectant and a small bandage, while 10 suffered bruises. Meanwhile, one person suffered a broken bone, and six had to get stitches.

Of the 88 foreign tourists who were injured by deer, 77 were Chinese nationals. Many of them reported their injuries out of concern that they would contract rabies. Nara Prefectural Government officials explained that rabies currently does not exist in Japan, but some of the injured people requested that ambulances be dispatched or that they be given rabies vaccinations.

[I would be more worried that the deers contract some weird disease from the tourists! Like lack of common sense. ]

In the seven years since fiscal 2010, 461 people have been injured by deer in Nara. By month, the highest number of people, at 87, were injured in August, while 71 were injured in September, and 54 were injured in October. According to Yutaka Yoshioka of the Foundation for the Protection of Deer in Nara, bucks are in heat between late August and late November. Thus, teasing deer with crackers around this time of year increases one's chances of being scraped with their antlers.

According to the Nara Municipal Government, 975,000 foreign nationals visited Nara Prefecture in 2015, up 54.7 percent compared to the previous year. The Nara Prefectural Government expects the number of foreign tourists to continue increasing, and has installed 40 signs in Nara Park warning visitors of the risks of being bitten or charged at by deer in English, Chinese and Korean, and there are plans to put up even more signs.

"Since tourists come to the park to see the deer, we want to prevent accidents so that visitors can enjoy their time here," a representative for the Nara Park Management Office said.

[I have been to Nara twice. 

If you watch the deers of Nara Park, you will find that some of them will hang about the deer biscuits (Shika Senbei) sellers. And when someone buys a stack of senbei, the deers will follow and hound the person - like beggars.

BUT... the deers NEVER bother the biscuits sellers!

They OBVIOUSLY know where the senbei are. But they don't hound the shika senbei sellers.

What does that tell you?

The deers are AFRAID of the senbei seller.

If you think teasing a deer is dangerous, wait til you tease one of those deer biscuits sellers.

Alternatively, I would like to see a movie where the hero or heroine goes to Nara to learn the martial art of intimidation... from the Senbei seller!]

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