Oh deer: Japan park issues tips as animals nibble tourists

Deers nibbling on tourists cause concern for Japan park. (Photo courtest: Ashley Rowland/Stars and Stripes)
Updated 03 April 2018

Oh deer: Japan park issues tips as animals nibble tourists

TOKYO: Faced with a growing number of injuries from deer bites, authorities in Japan’s Nara Park have issued tips on feeding the hundreds of animals that attract tourists from around the world.
The picturesque park in Japan’s ancient capital is home to more than 1,000 deer, which can even be found roaming the streets in search of special tasty crackers offered by tourists.
But their cute and calm demeanour can be deceptive and tourists can find themselves surrounded by aggressive animals when they try to feed them.
So authorities have erected a sign written in Chinese, English and Japanese entitled: “A polite request from the deer when feeding them” at the stalls where crackers are sold.
Small children should be accompanied by adults and “deer sign language” should be employed, showing both hands to the animals when feeding time is over.
“As they are wild animals, they get angry if people tease them,” Nara official Yuichiro Kitabata told AFP.
“For example, if you keep them waiting when feeding, they can bite you ... but not all of tourists know they are wild, believing they are kept in the park,” he added.
The sprawling park that also includes wooden temples and shrines built centuries ago is a major tourist attraction, welcoming some 13 million visitors annually.
But with a rise in the number of foreign tourists, the number of those injured by deer surged to a record 180 in the last fiscal year to March from 118 the previous year, according to Kitabata.
The deer at the park — numbering on average about 1,200 — are protected as a national treasure.


Bodies of man and his slave unearthed from ashes at Pompeii

The casts of what are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave fleeing the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, are seen in what was an elegant villa on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii destroyed by the eruption in 79 A.D., where they were discovered during recents excavations, Pompeii archaeological park officials said Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP)
Updated 22 November 2020

Bodies of man and his slave unearthed from ashes at Pompeii

  • Pompeii officials said the men apparently escaped the initial fall of ash from Mount Vesuvius then succumbed to a powerful volcanic blast that took place the next morning

ROME: Skeletal remains of what are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave attempting to escape death from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago have been discovered in Pompeii, officials at the archaeological park in Italy said Saturday.
Parts of the skulls and bones of the two men were found during excavation of the ruins from what was once an elegant villa with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city destroyed by the volcano eruption in 79 A.D. It’s the same area where a stable with the remains of three harnessed horses were excavated in 2017.
Pompeii officials said the men apparently escaped the initial fall of ash from Mount Vesuvius then succumbed to a powerful volcanic blast that took place the next morning. The later blast “apparently invaded the area from many points, surrounding and burying the victims in ash,” Pompeii officials said in a statement.
The remains of the two victims, lying next to each other on their backs, were found in a layer of gray ash at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) deep, they said.
As has been done when other remains have been discovered at the Pompeii site, archaeologists poured liquid chalk into the cavities, or void, left by the decaying bodies in the ash and pumice that rained down from the volcano near modern-day Naples and demolished the upper levels of the villa.
The technique, pioneered in the 1800s, gives the image not only of the shape and position of the victims in the throes of death, but makes the remains “seem like statues,” said Massimo Osanna, an archaeologist who is director general of the archaeological park operated under the jurisdiction of the Italian Culture Ministry.
Judging by cranial bones and teeth, one of the men was young, likely aged 18 to 25, with a spinal column with compressed discs. That finding led archaeologists to hypothesize that he was a young man who did manual labor, like that of a slave.
The other man had a robust bone structure, especially in his chest area, and died with his hands on his chest and his legs bent and spread apart. He was estimated to have been 30- to 40-years-old, Pompeii officials said. Fragments of white paint were found near the man’s face, probably remnants of a collapsed upper wall, the officials said.
Both skeletons were found in a side room along an underground corridor, or passageway, known in ancient Roman times as a cryptoporticus, which led to to the upper level of the villa.
“The victims were probably looking for shelter in the cryptoporticus, in this underground space, where they thought they were better protected,” said Osanna.
Instead, on the morning of Oct. 25, 79 A.D., a “blazing cloud (of volcanic material) arrived in Pompeii and...killed anyone it encountered on its way,” Osanna said.
Based on the impression of fabric folds left in the ash layer, it appeared the younger man was wearing a short, pleated tunic, possibly of wool. The older victim, in addition to wearing a tunic, appeared to have had a mantle over his left shoulder.
Mount Vesuvius remans an active volcano. While excavations continue at the site near Naples, tourists are currently barred from the archaeological park under national anti-COVID-19 measures.