The Greenwich Park team has worked closely with a specialist deer vet from the British Deer Society who is highly experienced in deer relocation, holding the required legal authority for this skilled work issued by Natural England. The welfare of the deer was paramount at every stage.
The current herd will now remain in Richmond Park. This will diversify the herd’s bloodline, widening the gene pool so that future offspring are healthy and resilient, and will avoid the need for the deer to undertake a return journey. In two years’ time, a new herd will be introduced to Greenwich Park.
The adult deer and their offspring have been moved to Richmond Park. At first, the deer are expected to ‘keep themselves to themselves’ while they settle into their new environment. But, once they are ready to explore and meet their new companions, the deer will begin to integrate with the existing herds.
The move comes ahead of the renovation of existing buildings and the construction of a purpose-built learning centre scheduled to take place in Greenwich Park’s Vanbrugh Yard and The Wilderness. Building work starting in 2022 will deliver a new café, volunteer hub, new accessible toilets, community space and learning centre.
These new facilities are being developed for locals as part of Greenwich Park Revealed - an £8 million, four-year investment to reveal, protect, restore and share the park’s heritage and natural environment, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Graham Dear, Greenwich Park Revealed’s Manager, said: “We’ll miss having these beautiful deer in the park for the next two years. But our priority is to protect the herd from any potential problems while we create valuable community facilities to provide learning, volunteering and training opportunities for locals. This will mean changes to the fence and work within the existing deer park.
“We’ll use this time to enhance the natural environment in the deer park providing a rich biodiverse natural environment ready for the deer to enjoy on their return.
“We’re working with top experts to make sure the deer will be healthy and happy during their travels to Richmond, and we’ll look forward to welcoming a future herd to this new and much-improved home.”
Improvements to the wildlife habitats in the deer park will include the restoration of acid grassland, the creation of soil mounds to enable scrub, and native wildflower planting throughout. There will also be a reconfiguration of the deer park to provide the Greenwich Park’s future deer with new access to the nearby woodland.