By becoming organic and breeding deer with wild relatives, satsumas can save Nara’s traditional living environment
A local town in western Japan hopes to create an “edible” plastic bag alternative that mimics the natural eating habits of the region’s traditional deer species.
It would be an act of environmental sensitivity and sensitivity to the sentimental value of Nara’s indigenous deer, called scaup deer. They have long been symbolised in Japan as a symbol of the region’s landscape.
Known as Satsumas or green-looking creatures, the scaup deer – classified in the nōjin (tengu) as a “degenerate” and even poisonous breed – are the emblem of the wealthy prefecture of Nara in Honshu, which lies on the southwestern tip of the main island of Honshu, as well as the prefecture’s infamous Apple or Żuji pilgrimage shrine.
The brushfire smoke at Żuji shrine (Photograph: Reuters)
But deer that stray into Honshu from their national forest range have led to hundreds of pounds of damage.
The Sonnoji prefecture, which administers the diura (forested mountain forest), has set up a wildlife disease prevention unit to help protect Nara’s scaup deer, an estimated 40,000 of which currently exist in the region.
“The deer are our natural emblem,” the Sonnoji prefecture’s mayor, Shinichi Osawa, told a recent audience at Sonnoji.