Royal Parks issues new advice to dog walkers as park ranger warns of 'extremely protective' deer in Richmond Park

  Posted: 03.06.21 at 09:46 by Ellie Brown

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Dog walkers are being warned by the Royal Parks to stick to the edges of Bushy and Richmond Parks amid concerns over 'extremely protective' deer during this year's birthing season.

In a Tweet posted last Saturday 29 May, the Royal Parks told owners to keep their dog on a lead and avoid areas of dense vegetation where baby deer tend to be hidden by their mothers.

They said: "Wildlife Officers are being called out 3-4 times a day in #RichmondPark & #BushyPark to help dog walkers being shadowed by deer protecting their young.

"As well as keeping them on a lead, please try to stick to the perimeter of the parks and away from areas of dense vegetation."

Later they added: "Sticking to the perimeter of both Bushy and Richmond parks is the safest course right now, staying away from dense vegetation and anywhere a fawn might be hidden."

Commenters on the Tweet shared their stories of recent close calls with deer in the park.

Baby deer play in Bushy Park (Image: Sue Lindenberg)

One user said: "Just saw someone being “escorted” by a spooked deer.

"They were walking through the centre of #BushyPark, and the deer resolutely pursued her and her dogs (both on their leads) until she left the park.

"Very unnerving for the person involved, but the deer must have felt threatened."

Another added: "I've been dog walking in Bushy Park for over 20 years & its becoming more frightening each year.

"Maybe the deer are more stressed?

A calf just after birth - mothers are very protective of their fauns and hide them in the long grasses of the parks (Image: Sue Lindenberg)

"I won't go near the Diana Fountain side until August & stick to Clapperstyle area but still scared & constantly looking out."

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Speaking to Nub News, Park Ranger Cathy Cooper added her voice to the call by the Royal Parks.

She also emphasised that deer are not just dangerous to dog walkers.

She said: "The mothers with their babies look cute but they are wild animals and dangerous.

"Yesterday on Ranger duty, I saw one mother then the whole herd chase a dog and attempt to stamp on it. Just after that I saw a woman trying to feed the same deer.

"Later the herd all moved very quickly towards the pond and I then saw a mother put her two young children in front of one of the hinds (female red deer) to take a photo.

"This is so dangerous and she was too far away for us to warn her though this happens all the time.

"Why parents put their children at risk like this is beyond me.

"The female deer are either expecting to give birth or have already and hidden their babies.

"They are extremely protective and will attack dogs and humans if too near."

You can learn more about deer birthing season in the park HERE.

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