A wildlife photographer fears a deer attack will happen at Wollaton Park soon if visitors do not stop taking close-up pictures of the park’s famous animals.
Amanda Sinclair spoke after several photographs emerged showing people stood next to the wild animals, including a man putting his head between a stag’s antlers for a photo.
Wollaton Park staff have reminded people of the dangers of getting too close to the deer, which are particularly dangerous during the breeding season, between September and November.
The animals may charge humans if they feel threatened, and one woman was seriously injured by a deer in London’s Richmond Park earlier this month after filming from fifty metres away.
Ms Sinclair has taken several similar pictures showing people too close to the park’s deer, including one of a man appearing to take a ‘selfie’.
“There is possibly no worse sight than seeing a rutting stag being crowded and idiots using flash photography on their mobiles,” she said.
“I can with every confidence predict an attack in the near future. I have studied these animals through every season and this is possibly the worst month ever seen.”
She added she had been ‘in despair’ at noticing an increasing number of people approaching the animals over the past two years, and in some cases suffered verbal abuse after asking some people to keep back.
She added: “Wollaton park need more than just a sign of warning. These people need a ranger. I can understand a lack of funds however there will be wildlife lovers who would probably do this job voluntary.”
Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure at Nottingham City Council, which runs Wollaton Park, said: “The vast majority of people who visit Wollaton Hall and Park sensibly enjoy our beautiful deer from a distance and observe the many signs around the park advising of the risks to themselves and the animals in getting too close.
“Unfortunately some people choose to ignore the signs or apply common sense, risking injury and unsettling the deer. We would simply remind people that the deer are wild animals whose behaviour cannot be predicted, and should be left in peace to roam and observed from a distance.
“If anyone has any concerns about an animal or the way visitors are behaving around the deer, they should report this to a member of staff and we will investigate.”
Staff at Wollaton Park said yesterday they were aware of people standing too close to the deer and trying to take selfies with them, saying: “It is extremely dangerous to approach the animals at this very close distance as we cannot predict how they may react. They are very large and could inflict a lot of damage. The animal could also become injured.”