Dog walkers in Richmond and Bushy Parks are being urged to take extra care during the deer birthing season (May-July).
Newborn deer are often hidden by their mothers in bracken or long grass. Female deer are very protective of their young and can act defensively if disturbed.
All park users are advised to keep at least 50m away from deer, never get in between two deer and never feed or photograph the deer at close range.
At this time of year, dog walkers are advised to stay away from the parks. If using the parks they should:
- keep their dogs on a lead at all times;
- let go of the lead if pursued by a deer. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them; and
- stay clear of nursery areas, which will be identified by notices placed around the parks.
Richmond Park manager Simon Richards said:
"Deer are wild animals and can behave unpredictably. Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner. We ask dog walkers to be particularly vigilant and keep dogs on a lead between now and the end of July."
Deer have roamed freely in the Royal Parks since 1529 when the parks were Royal hunting grounds. Grazing by red and fallow deer shapes the landscape of the parks and helps to maintain grasslands. Deer grazing also prevents tree seedlings from growing, keeping the grassland open.
More information about dogs and deer in the Royal Parks can be found on the Royal Parks website.
To report an injury to a dog or a deer, please contact: