Nine sacred deer have died after eating plastic at a Japanese park where they are considered messengers of the Shinto gods.
The Times has reported that the nine dear died after swallowing plastic bags. Veterinarians at Nara Park examined 14 deer that had died since March. They found that nine of them had eaten plastic. In one case the deer had eaten more than 4 kg of plastic.
Objects such as plastic bags which cannot be digested can choke a deer’s stomach. They do not distinguish between food and the wrapping around the food. When they smell the food in the bag they eat the whole lot. The deer interact with visitors who feed them.
“Sometimes, garbage is found in the stomach of a weakened deer. However, it’s unusual to see such a large amount of it. The deer was old, and it is possible she died of old age. But she was skinny and her fur was dull. Apparently, she couldn’t take in enough nutrition because her stomach was blocked by the plastic bags.” – Rie Maruko, the veterinarian in charge of the autopsy
Comment: this is another classic example of how plastic is killing wildlife. It’s a stark example. Their needs to be an urgent response across the planet.