June 06, 2011

From Country of Deer

Now is the  birth season of the deer in Nara Park. Mothers, new born babies and the pregnant  have been kept in a deer pen of Kasuga Grand Shrine for a while. Sometime in July, these baby deer will debut in the park. Mothers identify their babies with smell, so do not touch but watch them warmly. If human smell transfers to them, mothers will leave them.

A tiny life is standing firm and sucking at the breast. New born babies weight about 3kgs. After 10 minutes to 2 hours, they stand up and start to suck at the breast. Around 20 days after birth, they  start to eat soft grass also.

Babies are sleepy  and grow while sleeping.

Walk five minutes or so from  Kintetsu Nara Station, you will  be in the middle of Nara Park and see the gentle deer roaming here and there. In the park, there are about 1100 deer which are not kept by anybody. They are wild animals. But, their habitat and the world of people are largely and complicatedly overlapped. It has caused many problems or troubles in both sides - people and the deer. So both of them have been giving grand each other little by little and managed to live side by side.

During deer cracker stalls or shops are open, many deer are waiting around them.They never shoplift but bow to visitors to  beg the crackers. Other deer are moving from one feeding ground to another.

Can you guess what  the deer  are doing? They are waiting for a good timing to cross a road. 

This is the most tense moment. I can not help keeping an eye on them until they finish crossing. 

Sadly enough, already the deer habitat has been divided by the roads.

Nara became the capital of Japan in 710. According to legend, the most powerful Shinto deity was invited to protect the new Capital. The deity came all the way from Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture riding on the back of a white deer and descended on the top of Mt. Mikasa. This deity has been enshrined in one of four main shrines in the sanctuary of Kasuga Grand Shrine. All deer in Nara Park are believed to be the descendants of this one white deer and to be the messengers of Kasuga god.
The first Torii gate of Kasuga Grand Shrine

The deity traveled on the back of a white deer to Nara.
(Photo taken from Google)

I love this scene where the deer are going home in early sunset. The most soothing moment for me.

It is said Nara Park is the only one precious  place in the world where the wild animals and people live closely and peacefully  overcoming various issues. That is why the deer in Nara Park have been  designated as a national natural treasure.

My world in Nara is always with the deer.

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  1. Hi,Snowwhite.
    テレビで小鹿達が公開されたニュースを見たので、Snowwhiteさんが、ポストされると楽しみにしていました。沢山の鹿が奈良公園にいますが、あどけない表情の可愛い小鹿に、中々出会えないと思ってました。今日は初々しい小鹿達の写真見せてもらいました!Thank you for sharing!

  2. oh what a beautiful place! those fawns are just so precious! it looks like they are all healthy and happy there.

  3. I was so captivated by the pictures of the new babies and their mommies. Then you told the story and showed the pictures of the deer living with the people and you took my breath away. So interesting with beuatiful photos.

  4. I know it's cliche but I always think of bambi when I see a fawn with the dots on its back. So sweet! I love the photos with the mommy & baby. It's really amazing how people and deer live together so peacefully. It's very heartwarming...thank you Snowwhite for sharing :-D

  5. Coexistence of deer and human beings, I hope this unique nice relationship will last forever. Your photos are fabulous as always.

  6. I'm a first time reader and I must say your pictures are BEAUTIFUL! makes me want to visit Japan. Thanks for sharing your part of the world!

  7. Heartwarming entry with a fantastic photos, as always:) These bambis are soooo adorable and lovely!
    As Stardust says, I wish they can be a good company as long as possible.

  8. I love these photos, especially of the fawns.
    One thing that let me wonder when I think of deer in Nara is that whether we can say they are really wild, being tamed and given some food in their sanctuary called Roluya-on.

  9. I'm enchanted! the first photos are splendid, my favorite being the 4th. the little ones are so innocent and beautiful. I wonder if any are ever injured or killed by cars while crossing the roads? I hope that isn't so. thanks for sharing your world Keiko, it's extraordinary. Have a great week.

  10. That fawn is delicate and oh so lovely.

  11. those fawns are adorable. and it is truly amazing to see so many deer. I can well imagine the problems living together with humans could cause.

  12. To live harmoniously with wildlife is a precious gift. Your closeup photos of the deer are perfect. Each seems imbued with a special mood.

  13. What a wonderful, beautiful post for the day and I do love those precious fawns! Your photos are awesome! If only we could all learn to live together -- two-legged and four-legged!! Have a great week!


  14. a wonderful post. the fourth image is my favorite. that should be hanging on the wall. what a lovely capture.

  15. haricot,
    Thank you for your question.
    Do you mean mothers, babies and pregnant deer which have been protected for a while in the deer pun? There is no safe place or the sanctuary for the deer to give birth to babies in Nara Park. If there is "keep out area" for the deer, the situation will change. This is the problem in our side. Imagine what visitors do when they find deer babies in front of them, you will understand this protection is necessary. If the visitors touch the babies, the mothers will probably attack the people who approach and touch the babies. Or mother deer will leave or forsake babies who get human smell transferred to.
    As long as I see the deer pun, the deer in the pun are not fed as there is enough fresh grass to feed them in the pen. Grass is the most important food, staple food for the deer. They have been given the safe place for a while.
    AS two worlds of human beings and the deer have been overlapped largely, minimum compromises are necessary evil. One of them is "Antler Cutting Ceremony".
    It is so hard to live with wild animals in the center of the city. I think Nara has been a great experimental field.
    What do you think?

  16. Ms. Becky,
    Thank you for your concern about the deer. Sadly to say, according to the survey, about 76 deer died of being involved in traffic accidents in 2009.
    Crossing my fingers and hope no more accident.

  17. Beautiful habitat for deers. They are cute.

  18. Great knowing about this deer park. Superb shots.

  19. I thought the place like Rokuya-on to feed deer, even though it's not enough, made difference from being totally wild. And Nara park itself is man made except primeval forests, so deer are protected as certain level, I think, but I understand your points that staple food is grass, and no safe place to give birth for deer, as a definition of "wild".

  20. Nara park is obviously so beautiful... The small deers are a treat to watch, lovely pics...
    Have a wonderful day:)

  21. Wow! The photos of the fawns are really stunning......and so much information.I think that most wild animals will choose easy pickings if they are tasty!It's frequently a problem for wildlife when new roads cross their paths......sympathetic planners could make underground walkways perhaps?

    Best wishes,

  22. Beautiful post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  23. It is amazing to see the deer living so closely with humans. Fascinating, and beautiful photos.

  24. Amazing that the deer and the people intermingle like this.

  25. Redrose,

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, they are healthy and happy. But to show people deer babies gives stresses to babies, so the deer pen is open for 1.5 hours.

    Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you liked my photos. The deer are my favorite object.

    Thank you for your comment. To see deer babies with their mothers is heartwarming. Babies grow very fast. You’ll be very surprised.

    Thank you for your comment. I also hope this co-existence will last forever peacefully.

    Thank you for your comment. If my post made you want to come Japan, I’ll be very glad. Nara has held traditional Japanese culture. I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

    Y. Ikeda,
    Thank you for your comment. For new born babies and other deer, we need to use wisdom to co-exist with them in harmony.

    Thank you for leaving comment.

    Violet Sky
    Thank you for your comment. People love the deer and give various food to them. This makes deer sick. One of the major problems.

    Thank you for your comment. I love the deer. So I have taken so many photos of them.

    Sylvia K
    Thank you for your comment. We must learn more for harmonious co-existence.

    Ewok 1993
    Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you liked my photos.

    Rajesh, Indrani, Arti, Gary
    Thank you for your comment. I will never tired of watching them.

    Karen, AB
    Thank you for your comment. The deer are not afraid of people and bow to beg deer crackers. All what we can give to the deer are the deer crackers made of rice bran, flour and water.

  26. Hericot,
    Before people came to live to Nara, deer had already lived there. As they had been protected as the divine messengers of Kasuga god, the deer hadn’t leaved the place. They are wild animals and can learn how to cope with the co-existence to certain level. But responsibility to get along with them is in our side.

    Forest Dream Weaver,
    Thank you for your comment. What you wrote is what I think. But, the government is too reluctant to make effort to solve this problem. There are people who strongly claim to decrease the number of the deer. Because Nara is also the treasure land of various precious plants. The deer eat them and some of plants are going to be extinct.
    I have a hope. I'll continue to do what I can do. Thanks a lot.

  27. How adorable and angelic a bambi looks!
    How to coexsist peacefully, whatever they are, has always been a difficult issue.
    Even in a primeval forest like Odaigahara, surroundings changed and an increasing number of wild deer is considered one of the reasons to deteriorate forest by eating barks of the trees, causing damage to them.
    They are not to blame but people concerned have struggled to protect trees from them.

  28. such a wonderful park. it must be a treat to see these beautiful deers in their natural habitat up close. great post and photos snowwhite.

  29. What a pleasure, I imagine, the power to enjoy a place where the deer live to air.
    You know the deer is the mystical animal nature?
    A treasure of photographs.


  30. This is such a beautiful and graceful moments! Splendid photos as always.
    It is so sad that government do not manage this land properly.

  31. The deer fuse in ancient city scenery.
    Their face looks like calm God.

    The green includes a soft atmosphere.

    Thank you for a traditional scene.

  32. I've visited the park. Nara is a very beautiful place. Of course, I've never forgotten the deer.

    The photos you take here really capture the moment.

  33. It must be hard for people, children above all, not to wish to touch the baby deer as they are so cute. It is difficult to manage the park I would think if the deer population becomes too large and eats the wrong plants – those becoming extinct.

  34. cosmos,
    Thank you for your comement.Since people exterminated predators of plant eaters, I mean Japanese wolves a long time ago, the subtle balance in nature destroyed and the number of wild deer started to increase. In many areas, wild deer are considered as pests and game animals. Nara Park is precious exception.

    Life ramblings,
    Thank you for your comment. I hope their natural habitat be preserved forever.

    Thank you for your comment. The deer in Nara Park have a long history where the deer had been protected as divine messengers of Kasuga god for a long time. There was the time when welfare of the deer was more important than welfare of human beings.

    Thank you for your comment. The central and local governments are conservative and are apt to avoid changes. It is sad that there is little consideration for the deer.

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, without the deer, Nara will be different city.

    Thank you for your comment. The deer gives adorable memories to visitors.

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, it is hard to resist the charm of the deer babies.
    I always think Nara Park is the great experimental place where co-existence between human beings and wild life has been tested, maybe the wisdom of human beings is tested.

  35. How interesting. This post made me realize I know very little of what kind of animals you have in Japan. I'm also fascinated with the leged of the white deer because that seems to be world-wide, in the Western/Celtic culture as well it is a mystical creature linking this world with the "otherworld".

  36. Dawn Treader
    Thank you for your comment.
    I have been interested in similarities in myths and legends in the world. But, I have never thought about deer. How fascinating it is that deer are linking this world with the other world!

  37. The deer are a national treasure - that is so lovely!

    What wonderful shots - so full of delight.

  38. Such a wonderful place!
    You're lucky to have such a nice opportunity to be in a close contact with these deer.
    Thank you for this meeting, dear Snowwhite.

  39. Awe, they are so cute- the deer & their little ones! It is sad to see the highways in the middle of their habitat... I suppose people know to drive slowly through the area.

  40. Ladyfi, thanks for your comment. The deer in Nara are lovely and precious animals.

    Tattina, thanks for your comment. Really Nara Park is the rare place where people and wild animals are co-existing.

    Becky, thanks for your comment. Yes, I also get sad whenever I see highways in the deer habitat. People who drive these roads regularly know there are deer along the roads, so they drive carefully. All drivers drive following speed limit. But still traffic accidents happen.

  41. What enchanting shots of the deer! So sorry to see that they have to cross the roads though.


Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving warm messages. I will visit your site soon. keiko