Two years ago, when vandals destroyed Nara City’s sacred deer, the diminutive species fell prey to a growing urban crisis: For many Japanese residents, the lure of convenience over tradition has lead to the destruction of the catacombs of the city.
In 2016, vandals plundered the deer statue to protest the city’s development plans. In 2017, the annual holiday season yielded a multitude of attacks. “The deer are an icon of Nara City’s past,” the White Isolation Cooperative, a local organization that fights for the protection of the Grand Shrine, told the Shimbun newspaper. “If nothing is done quickly, they will become extinct.”
The devastation hit even closer to home, however, when vandals moved to the one place where the deer actually live: their habitat in the Geikō-nuri Taetou-in shrine park. (Vandals also turned their sights on North Korean’s famous Ulsan Zoological Garden as well.) Despite attempts to attack a possible solution, however, deer advocates have welcomed the latest tactic to come along — the “farm-safe plastic bag.”
Kinda cool. This plastic bag has a little heart to it. It doesn’t seem biodegradable. http://t.co/ABHb3nXEOl pic.twitter.com/FTbYdRWOfQ — Kimihiro Kumamiko (@kimihiro323) February 20, 2014
The concept is simple: Instead of delivering food to the animals, the harvested bags have a special mesh inside so they only take up compostable material. Given that meat from deer is among Japan’s most popular food, the project also addresses the deforestation problems that ravaged the forested land in the late 19th century. After a few years, the vegetative scraps that are sent to the dumps out of hand would become a healthier soil “food” for the local birds and, eventually, the deer.
Read the full story at The Telegraph.
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