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Extra rangers recruited for Royal Parks during deer-birthing season


Leads on dogs are compulsory from May 1st


The Royal Parks charity is ramping up efforts to ensure the safety of both deer and park visitors, by almost doubling the number of Volunteer Rangers in Bushy and Richmond Parks from the start of deer birthing season, it was announced early today.

The charity, which manages London’s eight Royal Parks, including Richmond Park and Bushy Park, has recruited 90 new Volunteer Rangers to complement the existing team of 118.

The role of Volunteer Rangers includes engaging the public and reminding them of the requirement to keep dogs on leads from 1 May to 31 July.

This measure is aimed at safeguarding vulnerable new-born deer as well as ensuring visitor and dog safety.

In April 2024, a fallow deer was mauled and killed in a suspect dog attack, and on a separate occasion a whippet was seen chasing a herd of around 30 fallow deer. These incidents serve as stark reminders of the need to ensure that dogs are always kept under control in the parks, especially around wild deer.

During deer birthing season, approximately 300 deer will be born across Richmond Park and Bushy Park.

Female deer, in an instinctual effort to protect their young, can act defensively and have been known to chase dogs during this sensitive time. During this period, the safest option is not to walk your dog in either Richmond or Bushy Parks.

Park Manager for Bushy Park, Phil Edwards says: “Thanks to the dedication of our Volunteer Rangers and park staff, and the co-operation of park visitors, we have seen positive changes in deer behaviour, which have demonstrated reduced stress levels and more natural roaming patterns.

“However, we rely on the public’s assistance, especially dog owners, to keep themselves safe, and to avoid tragic incidents such as the recent mauling and death of a young deer in Bushy Park.

“A second incident in which a whippet chased around 30 fallow deer caused huge stress to the herd. This could have resulted in deer charging at visitors and causing serious injuries or worse.”

Anne Scoggins, who has been a Volunteer Ranger at Bushy Park since August 2020, says: “It is a privilege to be involved as a Ranger. I have met some wonderful people on my shifts, and I really enjoy the benefits of being outside.

“Our role is to educate, to be kind and to keep people and their dogs safe while protecting the wildlife. This time of year is especially tricky as the female deer are very protective of their new-born calves and fawns.

“We need to encourage people to keep their dogs on leads, to remind visitors to keep a safe distance of at least 50m away from deer, and refrain from seeking out or disturbing new-born deer.”

Owners who choose, at their own risk, to walk their dog in Richmond or Bushy Parks during this season, must keep their dogs on leads, should be on high alert for female deer, avoid areas of long grass and bracken where new-born deer could be concealed, and stick to the perimeter of the park in case they need to escape quickly.

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.”

To increase public awareness during deer birthing season, Volunteer Rangers will host an additional pop-up information point within Richmond Park on Sunday, 5 May, from 1pm onwards,* which follows on from several similar engagement events already held in Bushy Park and Richmond Park in 2024.



Advice to dog walkers during deer birthing season

  • It is compulsory to always keep your dog on a lead in all areas of the parks, from 1 May until 31 July.
  • Avoid 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 without getting 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.
  • If you spot a lone female deer on high alert, please consider retracing your steps and giving it a wide berth. Its young could be concealed nearby.
  • Never touch or handle a newborn deer under any circumstances, even if it’s on its own. It is not abandoned, and its mother will be grazing nearby.


About The Royal Park Volunteer Rangers

Since its inception in 2019, the Volunteer Ranger program has proven to be instrumental in educating park visitors on various topics, including wildlife conservation and park safety. Over 110,000 visitors have benefited from interactions with Volunteer Rangers, enhancing awareness and appreciation for the delicate ecosystem and beauty within Richmond and Bushy Parks.


About the Royal Parks

The Royal Parks is the charity dedicated to caring for the most famous collection of urban parks in the world. Our role is to conserve and enhance this parkland for the permanent benefit of the nation, so that visitors now and in the future, can enjoy these exceptional green spaces in the heart of a world-leading city.

It costs around £60 million a year to manage the parks. The charity raises around 80 percent of this money itself, with the remaining 20 percent coming from the Government.

The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St. James’s Park. We also look after other important public spaces in London, including Brompton Cemetery and Victoria Tower Gardens.






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