Nara announces record number of deer bites as tourists flood in
Japan Times -- Feb 09
Famed wild deer in the city of Nara appear to be growing increasingly frustrated with tourists who make them wait to munch on crackers while trying to frame the perfect photo.

The Nara Prefectural Government said Thursday that the number of injuries caused by the deer in Nara Park hit a record 164 cases between April 1 last year and January 31, exceeding the 118 cases reported in the previous fiscal year. Of the 164 cases, around 80 percent involved foreign tourists — most of them Chinese — it said.

Most of the injuries were minor, with tourists having their hands bitten lightly while feeding the animals, according to the prefectural government.

The rise is partly due to the increasing number of foreign visitors, prefectural government official Yuichiro Kitabata said. But he also blamed tourists’ increasing eagerness to stage good pictures with the deer.

According to Kitabata, many tourists lure the deer with shika senbei (deer crackers), which are sold in Nara Park. But once the deer approach the tourists hide the snack, making the animals wait as they try to snap the perfect shot. And that makes for some irritated deer.

News source: Japan Times
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