Richmond Park is a site of both
national and international importance for wildlife
conservation. It is London's largest Site of Special
Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve and a Special
Area of Conservation. Richmond Park, originally a deer-hunting
park, still has 300 Red Deer and 350 fallow deer. The deer in
the park are wild animals.
The fallow deer is an elegant,
medium-sized deer, with a typically spotted coat. Males have
broad, palmate antlers. During the autumnal breeding season,
known as the 'rut', males make a loud belly belch to proclaim
their territory and fight over the females. This display may
involve groaning and stylised walking, but often results in
dangerous, physical contact as they lock antlers. The
resulting fawns are born the following summer.
deer prefer deciduous or mixed woodland with large clearings,
typically living in small herds. They are also common in many
deer parks throughout the country. They eat grasses and herbs,
and will browse young, broadleaf trees.