Oh deer! Last doe may have to quit the park
PUBLISHED: 23:24 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 October 2010
THE last deer kept in a small pen in East London’s Victoria Park may be moved out to a larger sanctuary. The four does live in a pen not much larger than a football pitch. But the small herd is a target for thugs. Nearby residents say yobs frequently taunt the deer at night, letting off firecrackers and hurling empty cans and beer bottles into the pen
By Ted Jeory
THE last deer kept in a small pen in East London’s Victoria Park may be moved out to a larger sanctuary.
The four does live in a pen not much larger than a football pitch.
They are popular with young families. But many complain the deer should not be kept in an urban park.
The herd is a target for thugs. Residents living on the edge of the park say yobs frequently taunt the deer at night, letting off firecrackers and hurling empty cans and beer bottles into the pen.
Most visitors feed the animals fruit and vegetables. Some, however, throw crisps and cakes into the pen.
Tower Hamlets council refuses to put up signs advising the public what food the deer can eat.
Park rangers who feed and look after the deer themselves have told the East London Advertiser the animals should be moved to a place where they are free to roam.
Red deer were first introduced to Vicky Park in 1846. The species was replaced in 1965 with fallow deer.
But there was increasing concern from the British Deer Society about the cramped conditions.
Several stags were later removed to a sanctuary in Scotland. That freed up space for the remaining herd.
But during the last two years, in which one doe has dies of old age, pressure has mounted to close the pen altogether.
That pressure was also highlighted during public consultations before Christmas about the future of Victoria Park.
Now the council is seriously considering removing all the deer.
“There is currently a plan being developed for the future of the park,” explained a Town Hall official.
“The future of the deer pen is one of the considerations being taken into account.
“That could well mean closing it down.”
But the authority was at pains to explain the deer were healthy.
“Staff have only identified the public feeding them with fruit and vegetables,” the official added. “So putting up signs about feeding has not been necessary.”
The herd is fed daily by park staff, during which time the pen is inspected and any debris’ is removed immediately.
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