Leicester

Bradgate Park duckling death prompts dog restrictions

Red Deer in Bradgate Park, Leicestershire Image copyright PA
Image caption Rangers said it will take many years to rebuild the red deer population after about a quarter of the usual number of calves were born

Dogs may have to be kept on leads in ancient parkland after a duckling was killed and a dramatic drop in the number of red deer births.

Bradgate Park in Leicestershire said it will impose strict measures in some areas after admitting its current policy is no longer working.

It recently warned dogs could be shot after only 12 red deer calves were born rather than the usual 35-40.

This week a dog savaged a duckling in front of horrified families.

Last year, the threat of lead-only policy was enough to make owners more cautious and saw a drop in attacks on wildlife.

Image copyright Jon Read/Bradgate Park Trust
Image caption Dogs are still attacking animals despite warnings they could be shot if out of control

Currently, dogs must be kept on leads or under close control.

But park manager Peter Tyldesley said something now had to be done and restrictions will be placed on about a quarter of the 830 acres of land following the latest incident.

"A dog jumped into the water, got hold of a little duckling and killed it instantly. It was seen by an awful lot of people," he said.

"One of the most disturbing things was the owner seemed completely blasé about it. Any suggestion that it might be her fault or the dog's fault was met with anger."

He added that people's attitudes to wildlife were changing and visitors were more likely to film an incident than stop it.

The park is now working with the local authority to create laws to make the restrictions enforceable.

New rules, which are still being drawn-up, are expected to be imposed in June with some areas out of bounds to everyone.

Meanwhile dogs will have to be kept on leads at the busiest spots in the park.

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