Deer in National Park Dies from Eating 7kg of Plastic

Carcass of a deer found in a forest near Khunstan National Park on Nov. 25, 2019.
Carcass of a deer found in a forest near Khunstan National Park on Nov. 25, 2019.

NAN — Netizens’ hearts are breaking Tuesday for a deer who reportedly died in northern Thailand after swallowing too many plastic bags.

Veterinarians said on Monday a male deer was found dead in a forest near Khunstan National Park in Nan province. An autopsy revealed several pieces of plastic blocking his digestive system, which caused his internal organs to fail and eventually killed him, officials said.

Masses of plastic and waste including coffee sachets, gloves, and even underwear were later removed from his stomach, weighing more than 7 kilograms altogether. Vets believed the deer might have mistaken them for food.

“This is the same problem we faced before with the dugong,” protected area regional office chief Kriengsak Thanomphan said, referring to a baby dugong who died in the south in August. “It’s a recurring problem we need to solve and the deer’s death should be an alarm for us to act now.”

The deer’s body was sent to a wildlife research center in Lampang for further study.

Many netizens reacted to the news with grief and fury, blaming careless human actions for the deer’s death.

“Rest in peace, little deer. It’s humans’ fault for taking the food in. They didn’t even bother to take out their waste,” user Thanyapatsorn Gangkarloy commented on Facebook.

Some netizens called on authorities to take more action in tackling litter in national parks.

“What about other animals? Does the department have ways to detect or help suffering?” user Chakrit Sarasin wrote.

In response to growing calls for action from the public, several measures have been taken by both private and state entities to discourage the use of plastic this year. 

Some retailers already pledged to drop plastic bags by the beginning of next year. Plastic bags and styrofoam will also be banned in national parks and protected areas nationwide, starting Jan. 1, 2020.

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