There have been a number of reported incidents of deer acting aggressively towards people in the Park, particularly dog walkers.
The problem seems to be that bracken has not grown as tall as normal because of the cold, wet weather earlier in the year. The deer find it difficult to hide their young and can become jittery when people or their dogs are around. However, this is the natural behaviour of wild animals; they are only trying to defend their young.
A number of dogs have been badly injured in recent incidents. In Bushy Park a puppy on a lead was killed as a result of an attack by a female deer.
There appear to be a number of 'danger spots' in Richmond Park:
– the woods around Pen Ponds
– the woods around the Ballet School
– the area at the back of the Isabella Plantation
– the area round Ham Cross
What can you do to stay safe?
Give deer a wide berth. The official advice is to keep a distance of 50m between you and deer in the Park at all times, but you should allow more distance presently and avoid the areas above altogether.
Avoid hinds (female red deer) in particular. Many of them have just given birth. They leave their young to feed but keep them in sight and can see anyone approaching them.
Be aware that you may not see the young deer as they are well hidden and a defensive mother can come from nowhere at high speed.
Keep your dogs on leads – but if you are chased or attacked your dog will fare better off the lead.
Do not cycle off the paths, where the deer can easily be disturbed.