AP PHOTOS: Oh, deer! Treasured animals wander Nara streets

first_img A young boy rides his bike past a deer wandering around the shopping area in Nara, Japan, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) 1 of 12 A tourist feeds a dear specially made deer crackers while visiting a temple in Nara, Japan, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Two deer walk past a souvenir shop near Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) A deer cuddles with a tourist at Kofukuji temple in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) NARA, Japan | Tours are canceled. Restaurants are empty. And centuries-old temples are quieter than usual in the ancient capital city of Japan, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.All of Nara is suffering with its UNESCO World Heritage Site listed temples shuttered as Japan fights the virus.All except the deer. The daily life of the town’s ‘treasured animal remains virtually unchanged.While most deer stay within the boundaries of their grassy park, some wander off to gift shops and restaurants across the street from the park. The deer have the right of way, and drivers honor it.Fewer tourists only means a bit more competition for the sugar-free treats or “deer crackers,” which are mostly made of wheat flour.A stack of crackers runs out fast when a dozen deer swarm around a generous feeder, nodding their heads as if they are giving a Japanese-style bow.When done feeding, simply hold up your empty hands toward the deer. They will magically disperse. A tourists feeds crackers, treats mostly with wheat flour and rice bran, in Nara, Japan, Thursday, March 19, 2020. More than 1000 deer roam free in the ancient capital city of Japan. Despite the town’s tourism decline, these wild animals are doing just fine without treats from tourists, according to a deer protection group. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) A tourist photographs a deer at Kofukuji temple in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)center_img A tourist carrying a souvenir in the shape of deer looks at a restaurant menu in Nara, Japan, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) A tourist takes a selfie with a deer outside Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Nara’s Mascot, Sento-kun statue stands near the entrance of a train station in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Surrounded by deer, a tourist shows her empty hands after feeding them crackers, treats made mostly with wheat flour and rice bran, near Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Deer gather outside a souvenir shop looking for treats in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) A commuter walks along a sidewalk as two deer wander around in Nara, Japan, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)last_img