When the Park's deer give birth they hide their young in the bracken for 1-2 weeks. This year, as last, the bracken cover is low and the lack of cover makes the mothers very sensitive to disturbance. Already, there are reports of people and their dogs being chased by deer, and of dogs being injured.
The Royal Parks have issued updated advice, as follows:
"The Royal Parks is recommending dog owners who walk their pets in Richmond and Bushy Parks to consider walking them outside the parks during the deer birthing season (May-July).
At this time of year the young are born and are hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass. This year the cold spring has delayed the emergence of the bracken and there is less shelter than normal for the young deer. Females and their young are very vulnerable and sensitive to disturbance at this time and the females can be very protective and aggressive.
It is not advisable to walk your dog in the parks during this time. If you choose to, at your own risk, please keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park where you are close to exit gates. If pursued by a deer, let go of the lead. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them.
If a deer approaches you it is probably because she has a calf somewhere. Walking away from her may inadvertently mean that you are walking toward the calf causing her to be more defensive. The preferred course of action is to retrace your footsteps back the way you came and take a wide berth on a differerent track.
Visitors coming to the parks without their pets are still advised to keep at least 50m away from the deer, never getting in between two deer and never feeding or photographing the deer at close range.
Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond and Bushy Parks, said: 'Deer have roamed freely in The Royal Parks since 1529 when the parks were Royal hunting grounds. The gentle grazing of the Red and Fallow deer continue to shape the landscape by maintaining the grasslands.
Deer are wild animals though and can behave unpredictably. Observing their reactions and updating our advice to park visitors where necessary, is an important part of making sure everyone stays alert and safe, particularly during the birthing seasons and mating. We remind visitors to observe the notices displayed across both parks.'
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:
Richmond Park: 0300 061 2200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org "