Barnet Times -
Bambi finds home in capital If you've noticed recently that your roses have been nibbled, or your twig-perfect topiary has been tampered with, the suspect may not be who or what you expected. Along railway lines and main roads, hiding in wooded areas, and skulking in back gardens, the deer is back in Barnet, and this time these fleet-footed beasts have a penchant for your prize flowers and vegetable patch. The thought of muntjac deer roaming the streets of Hendon may be a strange one, especially if you consider that they originate from China, but there are growing signs that these animals are back in the city, and, according to experts, Barnet is a prime site for them. But not all our urbanites are rejoicing at the return of Bambi look-a-likes, as they like nothing more than to feed on garden flowers, and can cause damage to woodlands. The London Wildlife Trust recently said in a report: "While deer living in London might be a welcome sight, their arrival poses several dilemmas." The deer population has been rising rapidly in recent decades, due in part to the lack of natural predators, and the muntjac has been particularly good at adapting to life in the borough thanks to its ability to survive on a variety of foods, and to live in small woodlands because of its diminutive stature. Muntjacs have very small antlers and a glossy red-brown coat with white patches on their thighs, and a pair of tusks. Robert Donaldson-Webster, of the British Deer Society (BDS), said: "The North Circular is heaving with deer. When I left the south of England in 1981 there were a large number around London but since then numbers have grown significantly." Hugh Rose, the BDS's technical officer, added that he had regularly seen deer footprints in areas like Golders Green and Mill Hill, and that they arrived in Barnet along railway lines and main roads. Clive Cohen, of London Wildlife Trust's Barnet group, was called to help a pregnant doe last year which had become trapped in a fence on Worcester Crescent, Mill Hill. "A doe got caught in the trellis work of the fence," he said. "I helped to get her free, and she gave me an almighty kick in the jaw. "They are very muscular."
2:50pm Thursday 19th August 2004