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Royal Parks issues rutting warning for Richmond and Bushy parks
Dog walkers are advised to avoid Richmond and Bushy parks during the mating season and rut.
Royal Parks warned all visitors to keep at least 50m from the deer, never to get between two deer and avoid feeding or photographing the animals at close range.
During the mating season, which is at its peak now and runs through November, red stags and fallow bucks compete for females.
Large males roar, bark and clash antlers in an attempt to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible.
Deer can feel threatened by dogs from further away, even when they are not acting provocatively, so may charge at dogs and their owners.
Royal Parks said the number of dog walkers in the park had increased and so had the number of incidents in which deer and dogs have been injured or killed.
Simon Richards, park manager for Richmond and Bushy parks, said if dog walkers were pursued by deer they should let go of their lead. He said: “Deer are wild animals and can behave unpredictably.
“If you choose, at your own risk, to walk your dog in the park at these times, it is advisable to 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.”
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