An expert panel of the prefectural government of Nara has decided to expand the area for culling the prefecture's iconic deer over damage they cause to agricultural products.

The prefectural panel will discuss culling methods and other details to draw up a new protection program in fiscal 2025, which starts in April next year, for wild Japanese deer living in Nara Park in the city of Nara and surrounding mountain forests.

The deer of Nara are designated as a natural treasure of Japan and are subject to protection. However, as crop damage caused by the deer has become a pressing issue, the prefectural government has divided their habitat into three zones — the protection zone centered on Nara Park, the buffer zone surrounding the protection zone, and the outer management zone.