Fears for Royal Park stags as herds face rising threat from modern life

MAJESTIC stags have roamed the Royal Parks for centuries. But the deer are now facing a very modern threat from cars, cyclists, plastic bags, dogs and even phone cables.

Stags in Richmond Park

Since 2017, 19 deer were fatally attacked by dogs in Richmond and Bushy parks (Image: Chris Jackson/Getty) Sign up for FREE for latest news plus tips to save money and the environment Invalid email

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New figures show that, since 2017, 27 deer have been killed by cars in Richmond and Bushy parks in south London, and 19 were fatally attacked by dogs. Four have been killed by cyclists, one calf had to be euthanised after being picked up by a member of the public, one got tangled in a phone cable and one was killed after it became tangled in a plastic bag.

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In the same period, 961 deer were culled in Richmond Park, while 532 were killed in Bushy Park. There are two culls per year.Richmond, originally a royal hunting ground, is home to around 345 red deer and 315 fallow deer, while Bushy has a total population of around 320.Charles Smith-Jones, technical adviser at the British Deer Society, said: "Quite simply, people need to give them space, pick up their rubbish, keep their dogs under control and slow down in their cars.

"The mistake many people make is that they think the deer are domesticated but they are not. They are wild deer who are more used to a human presence. They will put up with us being there but they don't want people crowding them.

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"The Royal Parks do a wonderful job and try to warn people but, sadly, some just don't pay attention. You must keep your distance."

Deer crossing road

Since 2017, 27 deer have been killed by cars in Richmond and Bushy parks (Image: Vickie Flores/Getty)The Royal Parks emphasised that deer safety is important and that culling is done purely to manage populations.

It also recommends dog walkers do not walk in the park during birthing and rutting seasons, saying: "Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner."

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Deer in Bushy Park

Around 320 deer live in Bushy Park (Image: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto/Getty)A Royal Parks spokesman said: "We take deer welfare very seriously and all aspects of their health are regularly monitored. In addition, both the society and the Deer Initiative of England and wales fully endorse humane culling.

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"The Royal Parks is an expert manager of enclosed deer herds, which are under veterinary supervision."

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