‘Dangerous’ muntjacs may pose danger to children

Muntjacs wandering through town streets could lead to “very dangerous” scenarios for young children, says one resident.

Graham Price, 73, has joined the growing number of Reffley locals to slam the impact the non-native deer species is having on the likes of animal safety and plant health in recent months.

He says that over the past four years, significant damage has been done to his garden – with the bulb heads of his tulips, daffodils and snowdrops being “destroyed” and eaten.

Damage caused in Reffley resident Graham Price's garden. Muntjac picture: Paul Brackley
Damage caused in Reffley resident Graham Price’s garden. Muntjac picture: Paul Brackley

He is unable to put a new gate or fence up due to his home being open plan.

Last year, after similar concerns from residents, Sandra Collop – a councillor for Gaywood North Bank ward – brought up the issue at an Environment and Community panel meeting.

But Mr Price believes worse could be yet to come if the muntjacs’ growing population is left unchecked, citing a series of “near misses” on nearby roads.

He said: “It’s alright saying a near-miss is not a problem, but if there’s young kiddies crossing the road and a muntjac cuts across, and a driver gets a fright and doesn’t want to kill it and doesn’t see the children, they’re going to go straight into them.

“It’s very, very dangerous.”

He also described incidents where muntjacs have attacked dogs in the area in and around Reffley Woods, which is owned by the Woodland Trust, and shared a video of the animals barking loudly at 5am last week.

The trust was unable to provide a response to these concerns in time for our print deadline.

“There’s a lot of people on this estate and everywhere – I’m talking about down near the football ground, everywhere – who are absolutely fed up with them,” Mr Price added.

“There’s people in the park who are feeding them. They take them cabbage, carrots, you name it. They’re not supposed to do it, because they’re classed as non-native species.”

He is also concerned about natural wildlife: “All the flora and fauna in the woods has gone. All the new stuff that’s supposed to grow in there, it’s gone.

“We never used to be able to see through the woods to the other side, because of branches and leaves. Now you see straight through.”