Sika Deer (Cervus nippon)

I was deeply disturbed to see this amazing stag limping around in the snow with its right front leg trapped in a nylon rope stuck to his antler. I was uncertain as to how exhausted it was, so I stopped a car and pointed out to the situation and asked it they had a knife, which they had and let me have. I hoped it was too worn out to escape so I could free it, so I slowly walked towards it to see how it responded.

Unfortunately it was strong and healthy enough to limp out of reach and perpetuate the suffering.

Notsuke Peninsula is a nature haven but also where many fishing vessels come in and out and store their equipment in and around their sheds where the animals roam freely. Stags are programmed to test their antlers on bushes, trees, and everything else they feel need testing. We’ve seen countless stories of stags being stuck in swings, clothes lines, fences, and as we see here, ropes. Many ropes are stored outside in what would appear a safe manner, but every now and then a bit of rope is loosened by wind, ice and or a stag “fencing” with the heap of ropes until it gets stuck. This one was partly lucky as the rope was loose. Other stags simply get stuck in one position and die of starvation and stress.

This stag will either have to wait it out several months until the antler falls off, or slowly weaken until it dies. At that time the leg might be so damaged that it will not be of any use.

The frustrating thing is that when I informed the local restaurant and tourist business, by showing them the picture to be certain I crossed the language barrier, they just shrugged their shoulders and didn’t want to be bothered.

I had a similar experience in Goa many years ago. I noticed a crow’s nest with chicks high up in a tree on the beach that were behaving erratically. I found out that they were caught up in fishing lines used as nesting material by their parents. Nobody cares about crows anyways, so I simply climbed up the tree, with a huge flock of excited crows flying around. I I managed to cut all of them loose and quickly descend. I see this all too much, and rarely encounter humans coming to the rescue.

Sika Deer (Cervus nippon)

Sika Deer (Cervus nippon)

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