Parents are being urged by The Royal Parks not to put their children in harm’s way by posing with stags during the rutting season.
The rise in popularity of social media, and the availability of smartphones has been blamed for the rise in people taking unacceptable risks in Bushy and Richmond Parks.
The rutting season (breeding season) is now underway, in which male deer compete for breeding rights from now until November. Red stags and Fallow bucks, flooded with testosterone and adrenaline, roar and clash antlers in a bid to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible.
To prepare for the annual rut, stags will bulk up and grow calcium rich sharp antlers. Maintaining a stronghold on their harems is tiring work, and the dominant stags are hyper vigilant and aggressive to potential rivals during this time. Dogs and even humans who try to get between a stag and his females run the risk of being injured if a safe distance of at least 50 metres is not adhered to.
Over a thousand wild deer live in Richmond and Bushy Parks, and The Royal Parks are reminding visitors, especially parents with children in tow, to exercise caution. They are also appealing to photographers to use a long lens and to never crowd the deer. Dog owners are advised to walk their dogs elsewhere, as attacks on dogs are not uncommon at this time of year.