Thetford Forest's warning to dog walkers after deer mauled to death
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The managers of Thetford Forest have issued a warning to dog walkers after a baby muntjac was found mauled to death.
Forestry England has urged pet owners to "be aware" of their potential impact on wildlife in the various forests they manage.
It comes after a note pinned up in Kings Forest - south west of Thetford off the B1106 - alleged a young muntjac deer had been killed by "out of control dogs".
Written by a "local walker", the notice was left in the woodland on Sunday, March 21.
It read: "Free running and out of control dogs have evidently killed this baby muntjac deer today. It would have died a horrific death.
"There is wildlife in these woods. Please consider."
Responding to the concerns, the local Forestry England branch said there had been a dramatic rise in visitors to the region's woodland beauty spots during the coronavirus pandemic.
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They added that all dogs should be "under control", which for some means "on a lead".
A spokesman for Forestry England East added: "Forestry England has seen an unprecedented increase in visitors to Thetford Forest due to the public's need for green space during these times.
"Whilst we welcome your visits, please be aware of your potential impact on other users and wildlife.
"We ask that dog walkers keep their animals under control and where they can see them. Dogs out of control or out of sight pose a risk to wildlife by coursing deer, disturbing or killing nesting birds, or eating their eggs.
"They may also stop other people enjoying the woodland. Remember too these places are working forests and dogs may be at risk of injury by entering live harvesting or work sites for example."
"We expect all dogs to be 'under control' - for some that is on a lead in accordance with our dog code."
Forestry England also took the opportunity to urge caution ahead of lockdown restrictions being eased from Monday.
"With the relaxation of restrictions on March 29, we are urging visitors to England's public forests to plan their trip and follow coronavirus guidelines as high numbers are expected in woods over Easter."