Authorities who manage London's Royal Parks like Richmond and Bushy are urging visitors to keep their distance from the deer over safety concerns.

A press release published by Royal Parks today (Thursday, October 1) was accompanied by a number of photos showing visitors to Richmond and Bushy Parks getting uncomfortably close to stags in order to take photos.

Park authorities point out that, as well as the inherent dangers and unnecessary disturbance to the wildlife of such actions, this time of year makes them even less of a good idea because it is rutting season and male deer (stags) are highly charged and aggressive.

"Stags can have harems of up to 40 hinds, and they spend most of their day and night chasing challengers away and preventing hinds from straying, leaving little time for sleeping or eating,” said Simon Richards, park manager.

Surrey Comet: Crowding a stag in Bushy Park. Image: Stephen DarlingtonCrowding a stag in Bushy Park. Image: Stephen Darlington

"This exhaustion and hunger, coupled with testosterone surging through their bodies, means they are in no mood for dogs spooking their hinds or humans getting in their face for a selfie," he added.

As such, Royal Parks are now asking visitors to keep their distance from the deer — 50 metres, to be precise.

A safety checklist produced by the park advises all visitors of:

• Keeping a minimum distance of 50 metres away. The more space the better. If visitors want a better view, they should bring binoculars

• Keeping dogs on leads or walking them elsewhere

• Not feeding or touching deer

• Not taking photos of deer at close range

• Never getting in between two rutting male deer

Surrey Comet: Approaching a deer dangerously close. Image: Stephen DarlingtonApproaching a deer dangerously close. Image: Stephen Darlington

People not abiding by the 50 metre rule have previously been hurt by deer in the parks.

In 2018, a young girl who was being photographed next to a rutting stag was injured in Bushy Park.

The previous year a visitor was hospitalised after suffering injuries from a male deer in Richmond Park

"Deer rutting is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the UK. If people say they love nature, then they must leave wild animals alone," Richards said.

"By getting too close, and invading their space, visitors are not only risking serious injury, they are also disrupting the natural behaviour of the rut."