Spate of donkey attacks in the New Forest

A donkey in the New Forest

A donkey in the New Forest

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

THEY look like the cute and cuddly creatures straight out of a Disney film – but they have a darker side and they’re not afraid to show it.

Just days after attacking a nurse at a beauty spot, Hampshire’s New Forest donkeys are at it again.

Over the weekend the donkeys bit a terrified young girl – the same day as hitting the headlines for chasing and sinking their teeth into a fleeing woman and her daughter.

It belies their fluffy fur, chocolate eyes and lovable long faces evoking memories of children’s favourite Eeyore.

Yet despite their mournful looks and docile demeanour, they harbour a more sinister side far removed from the world of Winnie-the-Pooh. The latest attack came less than an hour after the Daily Echo visited Hatchet Pond to investigate and film them with tourists.

Daily Echo:

The creatures even waited until the media spotlight was out of their gaze before turning their wrath on visitors feeding ducks at the waterside spot.

It has caused a fierce debate over how people should conduct themselves around animals in the New Forest and calls for tourists to stop feeding them.

Two donkeys were pestering a man for food when one lashed out and bit the girl as she was running past.

John Bayliss, 60, from Bevois Valley watched the drama unfold.

He said: “Two donkeys were trying to bully a man for food while he was feeding the swans.

“Then a family walked in between them and a girl of about 12 started running and the donkey turned round and bit her on the back.

“She was screaming ‘daddy he bit me’.”

The girl was not thought to be seriously hurt.

But Mr Bayliss also reported seeing another pensioner pushing away two donkeys cornering him for food at the waterside.

As previously reported, Jenny Caine and her five-year-old daughter were surrounded by five donkeys while taking bread to feed ducks.

Miss Caine, 38, of New Milton, was bitten on the back and knocked to the ground, causing her to drop her daughter Isabelle.

Someone eventually told the frightened nurse to throw away the bread and run in the other direction.

Daily Echo:

But the animals quickly regrouped and gave chase before she eventually got away.

Amber Rudderforth, 18, from Fawley, was surrounded by five donkeys there a month ago after packing up a picnic with friend Sarah Muston and her oneyear- old son.

They were only saved when an elderly man stepped in and pulled the animals’ collars.

She called for a separate picnic area to be created: “It was really scary as they were strong and pushing.

“As it’s a public area and there are cases of biting maybe they should section part of it off so people can eat.”

Fellow visitors were amazed that the creatures have attacked someone.

One family admitted the animals chased them in pursuit of food, but were quick to dismiss them as aggressive.

Most stressed using “common sense” when approaching the creatures to prevent frightening and distressing them.

Others condemned people for feeding them so they would continuously approach people for food.

Tourist Terry Sharp is visiting friends in Southampton from his native Australia.

The 72-year-old said: “You have to let them approach you and not take them out of their comfort zone.

“You become a menace to them and they don’t know what you are going to do to them. We have the same problem with kangaroos in Australia – especially the big ones.”

On the trail of the Forest's donkeys.

WHEN the Echo visited the beauty spot it was immediately clear that donkeys ruled the roost, writes Maxwell Kusi-Obodum.

A small queue of cars had built up outside the tranquil waterside spot off the B3054.

Drivers are being prevented from entering and leaving the grounds because a group of donkeys are blocking the dirt track leading into the car park.

The three animals stare straight ahead flicking their tails in a stubborn stand-off.

A female passenger attempts to break the deadlock, getting out of her car and approaching the nearest one.

Tourists look tensely on as she places her hands on its shoulders and tries to coax it towards the grass.

But the animal simply shuffles a few footsteps before coming to a stop.

The red-faced woman returns to her car and the driver is forced to edge onto the grass to pass it, while others wait before they move on their own accord.

It is clear this is donkey territory.

But despite this early event the animals are keen to welcome their human visitors of all ages.

A group of teenagers are sitting on the grass eating ice creams attracting plenty of attention.

The youngsters stroke them and pose for pictures with them.

The beasts eagerly jostle and position themselves towards food while enjoying the companionship.

Apart from one animal snorting and stamping its feet when someone moves an ice cream away from it, the atmosphere is relaxed.

Meanwhile a young girl and two pensioners are cuddling a foal which is playing around under the watchful eye of its mother.

Next to the pond two donkeys seem more interested in grooming each other when I approach to stroke them.

Others sheltering under some trees appear nervous at first but are good as gold when I start petting them.

Daily Echo:

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:21pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Colingibson says...

What a stupid report and video from the Echo, first blaming the poor Donks, then petting them and showing other people doing the same. Will he be so keen to do a report when they become unmanageable and get sent for slaughter-maybe a report from Longleat! Anyway he will still be reporting on animal attacks without the donks, cos guess what them dam Swans can turn a bit nasty when you run out of bread. Donks putting heads on cars, do they think that this is a product of evolution, something 'natural donkeyship' would see as donk join-up! Well may explain while some of them killed by car drivers hanging around on the road side. Its not just donks and swans, walker I see sometimes when out riding told me how she had to stop somebody putting their young child on the back of one of the mini shetlands outside the Fighting **** put at Fordingbridge to have its photo taken. That would make a good photo for the family album-a child being bucked off a feral Shetland!
What a stupid report and video from the Echo, first blaming the poor Donks, then petting them and showing other people doing the same. Will he be so keen to do a report when they become unmanageable and get sent for slaughter-maybe a report from Longleat! Anyway he will still be reporting on animal attacks without the donks, cos guess what them dam Swans can turn a bit nasty when you run out of bread. Donks putting heads on cars, do they think that this is a product of evolution, something 'natural donkeyship' would see as donk join-up! Well may explain while some of them killed by car drivers hanging around on the road side. Its not just donks and swans, walker I see sometimes when out riding told me how she had to stop somebody putting their young child on the back of one of the mini shetlands outside the Fighting **** put at Fordingbridge to have its photo taken. That would make a good photo for the family album-a child being bucked off a feral Shetland! Colingibson
  • Score: 26

5:29pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Rjhsoton says...

also remember they have baby's around at this time of year i passed loads of donkeys with their young yesterday which could also be an explanation for the behaviour PROTECTING THE YOUNG
also remember they have baby's around at this time of year i passed loads of donkeys with their young yesterday which could also be an explanation for the behaviour PROTECTING THE YOUNG Rjhsoton
  • Score: 29

6:24pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Brite Spark says...

At times like this donkeys should use the zebra crossings.
At times like this donkeys should use the zebra crossings. Brite Spark
  • Score: -2

6:31pm Mon 2 Jun 14

wilson castaway says...

Straight outta Compton..im a bad donkey called Rice-cube
Straight outta Compton..im a bad donkey called Rice-cube wilson castaway
  • Score: 3

7:16pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Dave of Dibden says...

I am sure that it is violating forest by-laws to feed the animals, and people should be made aware of the fact that the animals are wild and will get food from any source. I had a row with a woman at the green at Hatchet Gate she had a small child and was feeding the donkeys and causing traffic jams because the animals were chasing each other to get to the food.When told about the problem the woman became abusive to all.
It is not the donkeys that go bad it the stupid people who feed them the wrong food
I am sure that it is violating forest by-laws to feed the animals, and people should be made aware of the fact that the animals are wild and will get food from any source. I had a row with a woman at the green at Hatchet Gate she had a small child and was feeding the donkeys and causing traffic jams because the animals were chasing each other to get to the food.When told about the problem the woman became abusive to all. It is not the donkeys that go bad it the stupid people who feed them the wrong food Dave of Dibden
  • Score: 34

7:22pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Solomon's Boot says...

Simple solution, put a sign up warning people not to feed them!
Simple solution, put a sign up warning people not to feed them! Solomon's Boot
  • Score: 13

8:14pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Mary80 says...

Its not the donkey's fault they get aggressive for food its the MORONIC humans that feed them thus make them seek out humans FOR the bloody food. People cant feed the WILD animals and then get offended said animals are getting the arse when food isnt given to them. I know you can get fined for feeding pigeons why not the same with ponies/donkeys?
Its not the donkey's fault they get aggressive for food its the MORONIC humans that feed them thus make them seek out humans FOR the bloody food. People cant feed the WILD animals and then get offended said animals are getting the arse when food isnt given to them. I know you can get fined for feeding pigeons why not the same with ponies/donkeys? Mary80
  • Score: 24

9:47pm Mon 2 Jun 14

elvisimo says...

3 stories echo. Cutting edge paper...
3 stories echo. Cutting edge paper... elvisimo
  • Score: 3

10:20pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Buzzard2 says...

I agree with several views here. What a piece of sloppy journalism. Go out in the Forest, make it out to be a war zone, talk to some clueless visitors and then have your photo taken cuddling a donkey. No attempt to get some informed advice from perhaps a commoner or the NPA.

Show the animals respect. So often recently we have heard of people treating the Forest as some silly theme park with cuddly animals. Most of us seem to have lost common sense around animals (just like those other stories of people being attacked by cows).

Last year in Beaulieu I watched in amazement as a family calmly fed some ponies as a little baby lay in the grass just a foot away from the hoof of one of the ponies.

The animals are not cuddly, will kick or bite and should never, ever, be fed. They do belong in the Forest however and we are the visitors. Treat them with respect and, if they do get aggressive, stand in front of them and gently wave your arms.

That is the advice a decent reporter would have sought out...
I agree with several views here. What a piece of sloppy journalism. Go out in the Forest, make it out to be a war zone, talk to some clueless visitors and then have your photo taken cuddling a donkey. No attempt to get some informed advice from perhaps a commoner or the NPA. Show the animals respect. So often recently we have heard of people treating the Forest as some silly theme park with cuddly animals. Most of us seem to have lost common sense around animals (just like those other stories of people being attacked by cows). Last year in Beaulieu I watched in amazement as a family calmly fed some ponies as a little baby lay in the grass just a foot away from the hoof of one of the ponies. The animals are not cuddly, will kick or bite and should never, ever, be fed. They do belong in the Forest however and we are the visitors. Treat them with respect and, if they do get aggressive, stand in front of them and gently wave your arms. That is the advice a decent reporter would have sought out... Buzzard2
  • Score: 19

12:00am Tue 3 Jun 14

FoysCornerBoy says...

I'm worried that these feral donkeys might form an unholy alliance with goalpost-moving badgers and urban foxes.
I'm worried that these feral donkeys might form an unholy alliance with goalpost-moving badgers and urban foxes. FoysCornerBoy
  • Score: 0

7:40am Tue 3 Jun 14

skeptik says...

Have you ever shoed a horse? No but I told a donkey to clear off.
Have you ever shoed a horse? No but I told a donkey to clear off. skeptik
  • Score: 0

7:45am Thu 5 Jun 14

Ladybaker says...

Well done! Interesting to see if there are any awards for getting donkeys sent to slaughter. Completely uninformed reporting. Perhaps you could do another report on how people should be dealing with the wild animals on the Forest. Can't imagine you're even going to respond to these comments either.
Well done! Interesting to see if there are any awards for getting donkeys sent to slaughter. Completely uninformed reporting. Perhaps you could do another report on how people should be dealing with the wild animals on the Forest. Can't imagine you're even going to respond to these comments either. Ladybaker
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree