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Over 300 deer will be born in Bushy and Richmond Park


                                  Avoid the brown areas of the park
Deer will turn on dogs to protect their young


The Royal Parks charity today warned dog owners that leads will be compulsory from 1 May until the 31 July in Bushy Park to protect both dogs and deer during the deer-birthing  season.

Over the next few months, around 300 deer will be born across both Bushy and Richmond Park, where the rule also applies.

The season marks a vulnerable time for female deer, who hide their young in bracken and long grass to conceal them from dogs and other perceived predators.

During this sensitive time for the deer, park officials say the safest option is not to walk your dog in either Richmond or Bushy Parks.

Park Manager for Richmond Park, Paul Richards, says: “Although deer are instinctively frightened of dogs, they will overcome this fear if they believe their young are at risk. This means female deer may chase and attack, even if the dog is at a distance, on a lead and not acting provocatively. This can be extremely frightening to witness, especially for the dog owner.”

Owners who choose, at their own risk, to walk their dog in Richmond and Bushy Parks during this season must have their dog on a lead, and for their own safety should also be on high alert for female deer, avoid areas of long grass and bracken where newly born deer could be concealed, and stick to the perimeter of the park in case they need to escape.

The Royal Parks also urges all visitors to give female deer respect, privacy and space, and not to go in search of young deer.

Only last week the Royal Parks revealed that visitors to Richmond Park had been filmed trying to REMOVE the antlers from deer in the park.

Visitors must not handle new-born deer, under any circumstances.

If visitors see a young deer on its own, they should rest assured that its mother will be grazing nearby. Female deer hide their young whilst they forage for food to create the milk they need to nourish their young. Throughout the course of the day, the mother will periodically return to suckle her newborn, but she may reject it if she picks up a human scent.

Mr Richards adds: “This is the fourth year we’ve had ‘dogs on leads’ during the deer birthing season and it’s been an important step for deer welfare during this vulnerable time.

“As a result of this policy, our wildlife officers have noticed positive changes in the deer, with the deer appearing less on edge and exhibiting more natural behaviours such as roaming further into the park. Most importantly though, the number of dogs chasing deer dramatically reduces during this time. We’d like to thank the public for their continued support.”

Advice to dog walkers:

  • It is compulsory to keep your dog on a lead at all times, and in all areas of the parks, from 1 May until 31 July.
  • Avoid the areas shaded in orange on the maps. These are typically areas of long grass and bracken where newborn deer could be concealed.
  • If a deer charges, let the dog off the lead so it can run away and doesn’t get hurt.
  • Consider walking your dog elsewhere.

Advice to all park visitors:

  • Give deer plenty of space. Always keep at least 50 metres away.
  • Avoid deer nursery areas where possible. Give female deer privacy and respect.
  • Never touch or handle a new born deer under any circumstances, even if it’s on its own. It is not abandoned, and its mother will be grazing nearb


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