Dog walkers are being urged to be vigilant as red and fallow deer enter the birthing season in Richmond Park.

More than 300 calves and fawns are expected to be born in the coming two months across Royal Parks.

Deer are vulnerable to disturbance by both dogs and humans, so a new initiative will see volunteer rangers operate locally to dissuade visitors from getting closer than the recommended 50 metres.

Female deer will act defensively during this vulnerable time and have been known to attack dogs, even when the dog is at a distance and not acting aggressively.

Adam Curtis, Assistant Park Manager for Richmond Park, said: “Females are on high alert during the birthing season and equate dogs with predators. Get too close, and deer will attack dogs to defend their infants.

"It’s exactly why we encourage people not to walk their dogs in the parks during this time or, as a minimum, advise having them on a lead, sticking to the perimeter of the park, and avoiding areas of long grass and bracken.

Every year several baby deer are killed by dog attacks.

Human touch can be just as devastating; touching or even just approaching a baby deer may result in it being abandoned by its mother and failing to survive.

“Deer are excellent mothers and will leave newborns hidden in bracken whilst they forage for food," Mr Curtis continued.

"They are not abandoned, and the mother will be standing nearby.

"Do not under any circumstances touch them or pick them up otherwise you will traumatise them and make them more susceptible to attacks from dogs, foxes and crows.

"If you have any concerns, please call the park office.”

The Ranger Service is a three year pilot, operating at busy times to educate visitors about wildlife protection issues and share knowledge about the nature and history of the parks.

Jo Haywood, Volunteer Co-ordinator at The Royal Parks, said: “The Ranger service started in April and the public response has been overwhelmingly positive, so we are currently on the lookout for more Rangers.

“As you would expect for two deer parks, conversations tend to focus on the deer and the 50-metre rule, and this is particularly important during birthing season, but Rangers also advise people on the best walking routes, attractions and generally just how to make the most of their visit.”

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Ranger for Richmond, Bushy or Greenwich Parks visit:

and apply by May 30 2019.