The Royal Parks has issued a warning to parents asking them to stop putting children in harm’s way by posing with deer during the rutting season.
From now until November over 1,000 red stags and Fallow bucks will be flooded with testosterone and adrenaline as they roar and clash their antlers in a bid to fight off their rivals so that they can attract as many female deer as possible.
Adam Curtis, the Assistant Park Manager for Richmond Park said: “These incidents almost exclusively happen when people ignore our 50-meter rule and get too close.
“You wouldn’t go on safari and take a selfie with a lion – the same logic should apply here.
“My advice is to be inconspicuous, and if you want to see rutting deer in action then take binoculars.”
The Royal Parks are also urging photographers to avoid overcrowding the deer and to use long lenses as they are deemed to be safer to use during this time.
Dog owners should walk their dogs elsewhere until the end of the rutting season as attacks on dogs are not uncommon.
In 2018, a girl took a picture next to a rutting stag and was injured in Bushy Park and in 2017, someone was injured and hospitalized after suffering injuries from a male deer in Richmond Park.
This prompted The Royal Parks to introduce its ‘Volunteer Ranger Service,’ in both parks in a bid to improve visitor experiences as well as educating people on wildlife protection issues like respecting deer and behaving in a manner that will not endanger visitors.
Mr. Curtis continued: “Approaching wild deer at any time of year is unwise but during rutting season it’s downright dangerous.
“Putting yourself, child or dog near a 25 stone stag with sharp antlers, is extremely risky.
“Being hit by a stag running at full speed of 30 miles an hour is the equivalent of being mown down by a motorbike.”
Visitors who choose to get close to the deer must also be aware that their actions can stress the deer and lead to females giving birth later in the season which means their babies will be less likely to thrive.