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Police hunting members of the public spotted approaching deer in Richmond Park and trying to steal their antlers


  • Royal Parks Police are urging witnesses of such incidents to get in touch on 101

Police are on the hunt for members of the public who have been spotted approaching deer in Richmond Park, and attempting to remove their antlers. 

Royal Parks Police received reports of ‘concerning behaviour’ after users of the park, in south-west London, were seen ‘taking hold’ of the antlers of deer and ‘trying to force them off’ .

The force says that it has obtained footage of such incidents at the Royal Park and has urged any witnesses to contact the police by calling 101. 

In an appeal on X, formely known as Twitter, Royal Police Police wrote: ‘We have received reports of concerning behavior in Richmond Park over the weekend, where park users have been observed approaching the deer and attempting to remove their antlers. Video footage of these incidents has been obtained.’

The added: The deer cast their antlers each year and grow new ones. However instead of allowing their old antlers to fall off naturally, some people are taking hold of them and trying to force them off, which is distressing for the deer and also a criminal offence.’

Users of the Royal Park, in south-west London , were seen 'taking hold' of the antlers of deer and 'trying to force them off'

Users of the Royal Park, in south-west London , were seen ‘taking hold’ of the antlers of deer and ‘trying to force them off’

Visitors are asked to keep a 50m distance from deer at all times for their own safety, as the mammals are are wild and unpredictable animals

Visitors are asked to keep a 50m distance from deer at all times for their own safety, as the mammals are are wild and unpredictable animals

Richmond Park is noted for its deer population, drawing 5.4 million visitors a year to the sprawling nature reserve, home to 630 red and fallow deer who have been roaming freely since 1637.

Visitors are asked to keep a 50m distance from deer at all times for their own safety, as the mammals are are wild and unpredictable animals. 

Male deer will start growing their antlers in the spring, before they are shed at the end of winter. 

Despite park deer being more accustomed to humans, male deer are more likely to display aggressive behaviour during the rut in September – the mating season for deer.

The antlers, which are made of bone, can be sharp and dangerous during the rut after the soft covering, known as the velvet, is rubbed off after growth of the antlers is complete. 

Richmond Park is noted for its deer population, drawing 5.4 million visitors a year to the sprawling nature reserve

Richmond Park is noted for its deer population, drawing 5.4 million visitors a year to the sprawling nature reserve

In October last year, amateur photographers were warned about the dangers of rutting stags after being pictured getting within a few feet of the animals to try to take photos.

Footage taken at Bushy Park, southwest London, showed members of the public ignoring guidance from Royal Parks to keep 160ft (50m) away and ‘always be vigilant… especially during the rutting season‘.

Runners, cyclists and dog-walkers were pictured within touching distance of the deer – which have been known to charge.



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