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Heat-stricken deer at Nara Park flock to cooling air vent to chill

The deer at Nara Park are seen congregated around the cool air vent at the park, in Nara, Nara Prefecture, on Aug. 8, 2019. (Mainichi/Ai Kawahira)

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)

The deer at Nara Park are seen taking in the breeze around the cool air vent at the park, in Nara, Nara Prefecture, on Aug. 8, 2019. (Mainichi/Ai Kawahira)

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