Warning to parkgoers getting too close to deer during mating season
Warning to parkgoers who are pictured getting dangerously close to stags during the perilous mating season
- Parkgoers warned to stay 160ft away from deer during their mating season
- Footage from Bushy Park shows people within touching distance of wild animals
- Red deer can become extremely aggressive between September and November
Members of the public have been spotted getting dangerously close to deer in London during a very dangerous time of year – the mating season.
Footage taken at Bushy Park, southwest London, shows revellers just a few feet away from the animals, despite guidance from Royal Parks to keep 160ft (50m) away and ‘always be vigilant… especially during the rutting season’.
Runners, cyclists and dog-walkers were pictured within touching distance of the deer – which have been known to charge.
During the rutting season in September-November, the animals – especially stags – can become hostile towards humans.
This is because they spend a lot of this period fighting rivals, causing them to become extremely agitated.
Members of the public have been spotted getting dangerously close to deer in London during a very dangerous time of the year – the mating season (pictured, deer in Bushy Park)
In footage from Bushy Park, southwest London, brazen parkgoers are seen just metres away from the deer despite a strict 50metre distance rule (pictured)
Visitors were pictured standing within touching distance of the deer who have been known to charge at their aggressors (pictured, a herd of deer in Bushy Park)
It is recommended to keep a safe distance of 50metres from the animals however it has become clear this rule is either unknown or being ignored
Visitors to Bushy and Richmond Parks are told to stay 50metres away from deer, especially stags, during their mating season as they spend a lot of this period fighting rivals
The photographer who captured the footage said that people who approach the deer are actually putting themselves in harm’s way.
ROYAL PARKS DEER SAFETY ADVICE
Visitors must remain at least 160ft (50m) away from deer at all times.
Never touch, feed or photograph the animals at close range.
Do not picnic or eat food in close proximity of the deer. If approached, cover food and close any bags, leave the food behind and move to a safe distance. Wait for the deer to move on before returning to the picnic spot.
Photographers must always remain 160ft (50m) away and use a long lens.
Dog owners are advised to avoid Bushy and Richmond Parks during mating season (September-November) and birthing season (May-July). This is because deer can feel threatened by dogs.
In the unlikely event you are threatened or charged by a deer, try and put a vehicle or substantial barrier (like a big tree) between you and the animal.
If you have a dog, let it off the lead as they have a better chance of escaping while unrestrained and may be the reason the deer is agitated.
Do not wave or shout at an approaching deer, instead back off slowly.
Source: Royal Parks London
Robert Piper, 67, watched on in disbelief as parkgoers put themselves at risk by approaching the elegant yet temperamental animals.
He said: ‘The red deer are wild animals – even though they are located in one of the Royal Parks, they can be quite unpredictable.
‘The majority of the spectators in the videos were putting themselves in a high level of danger, as stags during the rutting [mating] season have been known to charge at spectators if they get too close to them.’
Mr Piper added: ‘In all of the videos, it is clear and obvious that the distance the spectators were from the animals was considerably less than 50metres.
‘There are some individuals walking by just a few metres away from a stag.
‘Quite often, a stag who may have just finished fighting is in a highly agitated and aggressive state – spectators may not realise this, and approaching them is a potential recipe for disaster.
‘One gentleman appeared to be sitting quite nonchalantly as two stags were about to start fighting just a few metres away.
‘The common theme in all of the videos was the extreme close proximity between the spectators and animals, especially at a time of the year when the stags are potentially at their most aggressive and dangerous.’
The photographer said he captured the video to highlight the potential risk and dangers that park-goers were putting themselves in.
‘I hope these videos also help to raise awareness again about not getting too close to these animals and to keep a gap of at least 50metres,’ he said.
Herds of red and fallow deer have been grazing in the Royal Parks since the 1600s and have played a key role in shaping the landscape.
During the rutting season in September-November, deer can become hostile towards people, especially stags, who have been known to charge at spectators
A group of cyclists were forced to swerve around a deer after it decided to cross the road
Parkgoers are advised to stay 50metres away from deer, especially during their mating season
A group of tourists were seen taking photos of a deer at close range in Bushy Park
Visitors are required to remain 50metres away from deer at all times and never attempt to touch, feed or photograph the animals at close range.
Dog owners are advised to avoid Bushy and Richmond parks during mating season (September-November) and birthing season (May-July).
MailOnline has contacted Royal Parks for comment.
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