Veterinarians and Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation workers made an upsetting discovery inside the stomach of a dead deer in Thailand. Upon finding the already deceased animal, the vets opened it up to find out the cause of death. Inside the animal's stomach was over 7kg (15.4lbs) of plastic waste and clothing. The animal died due to intestinal congestion caused by all the trash it had eaten.
Thailand's Khun Sathan National Park in the Nan district is a popular camping and holiday destination. The protected forest near the Laos border is home to multiple species of wild animals. The national park has a number of beautiful campsites. Visitors go there to see the beautiful Himalayan Cherry trees as well.
However, the impact visitors have on the wildlife became evident when a dead Sambar deer was found near the vet's office.
Sky News reported that the dead deer weighed around 200kg (441lbs) and was 135cm (49ins) tall from its shoulders down. Vets estimated that the deer was around 10 years old. Sambar deer in the wild have a life expectancy of around 20 years and in captivity of around 26 years. This means that the deer was not very old.
Vets noticed that the deer did not have any external injuries which could have ended its life. To figure out the animal's cause of death, the vets cut its stomach open.
Inside the animal's stomach, vets found over 7 kgs of trash. Coffee packets, instant noodle packets, and even a pair of men's underpants were what the deer had consumed. This hinted that the campers and visitors to the forest were not picking up after themselves. It also points out the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's inability to keep the park clean.
As a result of the deer's death, the park introduced a new waste collection policy. Visitors to the park are given a black plastic bag to collect their waste. When the visitors leave the forest, they need to hand-over the collected waste to forest rangers.
The waste will then be sorted and the recyclable waste will be sold. All the money the park authority gets from selling the recyclable waste will be used to support and maintain the park.