Japan’s Nara Park issues warning after deer bite hundreds of tourists, many of them Chinese

Bambi attacks: the famous roaming herds of deer at Nara injured a record 180 tourists last year alone

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2018, 9:40am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2018, 8:55pm

Nara Park in western Japan is warning tourists not to tease its famous wild deer, after almost 200 tourists were injured by the animals last year.

The park, where herds of deer roam around its historic holy sites, began offering tips Tuesday on how to safely feed the animals amid the spate of bite injuries to tourists.

The 660-hectare park encompassing the Todaiji Temple and Kasugataisha Shrine has become a major tourist attraction where visitors feed special crackers to the 1,000-plus deer on the premises.

But its popularity led to a record 180 injury reports in 2017, with 138 of them involving foreigners, including many 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.

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