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The clashing antlers of rutting stags echo around London

Posted: Friday 12th October 2018 by trustadmin

Stag by Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Tempers are rising in London’s hinterlands and our ancient deer parks, as male red deer – stags – roar and joust to gain dominance of herds.

Deer are wild animals, please keep your distance and do not attempt to touch, feed or photograph deer at close range...

This is the rutting season and the stags, barking and clashing their antlers, are a popular, if somewhat risky, attraction at Richmond Park.

Red deer are the largest of the four species found wild in London, as well as in captive herds in some of the capital’s parks. There are also significant numbers of fallow deer, introduced to Britain by the Normans in the 11th century, on the city’s eastern fringes. An estate in Harold Hill near Romford is regularly visited by one such herd; the deer cautiously grazing under shimmering street lights.

Much more elusive, as they are solitary rather than forming herds, are roe deer and the tiny, knee-high muntjac. Muntjac originate from China, but have made their home here since escaping from a private collection in Bedfordshire in the 1920s.

Most deer prefer to live in woodland where there is significant cover, and are generally active during the hours of darkness, browsing on leaves, twigs and fruit. But many also use farm land, golf courses, roadside verges, and the city’s allotments, parks and railway banks, while muntjac can often be seen in suburban gardens.

Wild deer numbers are the highest they have been for centuries, and they are moving into our cities. Most deer are found around London's outer fringes, but more are being reported closer to the centre. Records include muntjac near Finsbury Park, Forest Hill and in Tooting Bec Common. Captive herds can be seen in many London parks, including Bushy Park, Bedfords Park in Havering and Maryon Wilson Park in Charlton.

Deer are wild animals, please keep your distance and do not attempt to touch, feed or photograph deer at close range.

For more information and to share your sightings of wild deer see www.wildlondon.org.uk/deer

Roe deer by Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography


Images of red deer and roe deer by Jon Hawkins / Surrey Hills Photography  

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