NARA -- With this year's hot summer continuing unabated, deer at Nara Park here in western Japan have taken to swarming around a large vent expelling cool air for what appears to be a bit of breezy relief.
The deer are designated a natural monument by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Although the exact reason for their behavior is not known, the number of them having a doze by the vent reaches its peak during the evening hours, and the sight of them cooling down has become a popular talking point.
The vent is owned by the Nara National Museum, and expels cooled air from an underground corridor. For days in a row, the deer have started making their way to it about an hour before sunset, with peak-deer gathering coming immediately before sundown. They're also said to stay there even after the air conditioning is switched off.
A representative of The Nara Deer Preservation Foundation told the Mainichi Shimbun, "They might be stopping off at the vent for a rest on the way to their dens. But what they're doing it for, I don't know."
(Japanese original by Erina Sato, Nara Bureau)