Donkeys attack visitors at New Forest beauty spot

Daily Echo: Visitors enjoy feeding the donkeys Visitors enjoy feeding the donkeys

TOURISTS are demanding a New Forest beauty spot is fenced off after attacks from vicious donkeys which graze there.

They say the donkeys pursuing and lashing out at visitors are becoming a menace to families.

But countryside authorities last night refused to segregate the waterside spot at Hatchet Pond near Beaulieu.

They blamed tourists for ignoring warnings against feeding the animals which was fuelling their violent behaviour.

Donkeys have struck at least twice in a week – targeting families feeding ducks and picnicking at the popular tourist hotspot.

Warning A 12-year-old girl was bitten on the back by one of two animals which were harassing a man, who was feeding ducks, for food.

Days earlier a nurse and her five-year-old daughter were surrounded and chased by five donkeys before one sunk its teeth into the woman’s back.

Their fearsome reputation has led to calls for fencing and a separated picnic area to be installed.

But last night bosses at the Forestry Commission – which owns the land – denied it is necessary.

But they stressed rangers were monitoring the area as part of their regular patrols during busy weekends and holiday periods.

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A spokeman said: “Hatchet Pond is within the open Forest, is unfenced and subject to grazing.

“Car parks and day visitor sites in the open Forest aren’t always suitable for picnics and we encourage people to go to more suitable places within ungrazed parts of the Forest.”

She warned that feeding the animals encourages them to pester visitors and added: “This is especially dangerous in car parks as it encourages animals to walk between cars and onto roads.

“We also discourage feeding ducks and wild birds as the donkeys and ponies will not differentiate between food for the birds and that offered to them.”

Sue Westwood, clerk to the Verderers, the organisation that looks after the Forest’s ponies, cattle and donkeys, said: “We are against fencing off this certain area.

“While we have sympathy with those who get injured, we have to balance it with an animal’s right to be there.”

She said individual owners can only be forced to remove aggressive animals from the Forest if there is a good reason and they have a precise description of the exact animal.

She added: “A situation like this is caused by the public feeding them and it’s a shame that the minority of people are causing problems for everyone else.”

Head agister Jonathan Gerrelli also urged against segregation and said: “Where do you stop with the fencing area?

“You also find gates getting left open and animals congregating around the gates.”

The Forestry Commission has also put up signs at popular locations and in public toilets, warning against feeding and dumping rubbish.

They hold ‘Wild about Ponies’ education sessions in local schools and tourist hotspots.

See forestry.gov. uk/newforest for advice.

Comments (9)

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12:44pm Tue 3 Jun 14

mrsdd says...

People need to stop feeding the donkeys and leave them alone. I saw a lady petting a baby one like it was a dog the other day! And then she would have been surprised when the mother attacked her. They are wild animals. Leave them be
People need to stop feeding the donkeys and leave them alone. I saw a lady petting a baby one like it was a dog the other day! And then she would have been surprised when the mother attacked her. They are wild animals. Leave them be mrsdd
  • Score: 25

1:01pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Turtlebay says...

Many tourists don't realise that the animals in the New Forest are wild.

The only time they see donkeys normally are in a zoo or on a beach where they use tame animals.
Likewise the ponies, most people assume they'll be as friendly as broken in domestic horses.

More notices should be erected warning that the ANIMALS ARE WILD.
Many tourists don't realise that the animals in the New Forest are wild. The only time they see donkeys normally are in a zoo or on a beach where they use tame animals. Likewise the ponies, most people assume they'll be as friendly as broken in domestic horses. More notices should be erected warning that the ANIMALS ARE WILD. Turtlebay
  • Score: 15

2:43pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Dave of Dibden says...

Fences should not be put up to stop the animals they should be installed to keep out stupid humans who feed the animals human food.
The animals have more right to rome than the two legged type of animals
Fences should not be put up to stop the animals they should be installed to keep out stupid humans who feed the animals human food. The animals have more right to rome than the two legged type of animals Dave of Dibden
  • Score: 30

3:54pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Northamboy says...

No fences is my vote. The tourists should either obey the rules and not feed the animals or go to a zoo. This is the New Forest not some eyesore to be fenced off!
No fences is my vote. The tourists should either obey the rules and not feed the animals or go to a zoo. This is the New Forest not some eyesore to be fenced off! Northamboy
  • Score: 27

5:06pm Tue 3 Jun 14

forest hump says...

"Tourists are demanding" ? So who are "they" or is it just D.E. conjecture? If "they" don't like it then clear off.
"Tourists are demanding" ? So who are "they" or is it just D.E. conjecture? If "they" don't like it then clear off. forest hump
  • Score: 22

6:36pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Buzzard2 says...

forest hump wrote:
"Tourists are demanding" ? So who are "they" or is it just D.E. conjecture? If "they" don't like it then clear off.
Exactly. Stone me, the Daily Echo love to stir things up, don't they? Which tourists are these then?

Thank goodness I don't have to pay for tripe like this.
[quote][p][bold]forest hump[/bold] wrote: "Tourists are demanding" ? So who are "they" or is it just D.E. conjecture? If "they" don't like it then clear off.[/p][/quote]Exactly. Stone me, the Daily Echo love to stir things up, don't they? Which tourists are these then? Thank goodness I don't have to pay for tripe like this. Buzzard2
  • Score: 12

10:40pm Wed 4 Jun 14

S1-Gary says...

Typical DE tripe. Locals do not need educating, rarely leave gates open and know better than to feed wild animals. Grockles on the other hand leave litter, think it is fun to feed and pet wild animals and are then surprised when they do what is natural. There should be BIG signs on the roads saying DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS, TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME and THIS IS THE COUNTRYSIDE, RESPECT IT, DEAL WITH It OR GO HOME.
Typical DE tripe. Locals do not need educating, rarely leave gates open and know better than to feed wild animals. Grockles on the other hand leave litter, think it is fun to feed and pet wild animals and are then surprised when they do what is natural. There should be BIG signs on the roads saying DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS, TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME and THIS IS THE COUNTRYSIDE, RESPECT IT, DEAL WITH It OR GO HOME. S1-Gary
  • Score: 20

12:23pm Thu 5 Jun 14

steveguy93 says...

This makes me so angry, the grockles should learn to respect the forest and the nature of it's animals, this isn't a theme park or a petting zoo, it's our home and home to the creatures that share our environment, they wont be happy till everything is clinical and regulated and fenced and manicured. If you visit the forest learn about it first, there is a balance here between humans and the environment which should not be interfered with, if you value your quaint little summer getaway leave it the way it is!
This makes me so angry, the grockles should learn to respect the forest and the nature of it's animals, this isn't a theme park or a petting zoo, it's our home and home to the creatures that share our environment, they wont be happy till everything is clinical and regulated and fenced and manicured. If you visit the forest learn about it first, there is a balance here between humans and the environment which should not be interfered with, if you value your quaint little summer getaway leave it the way it is! steveguy93
  • Score: 12

11:05pm Thu 5 Jun 14

stupink96 says...

Animals have right of way whatever.... the penalty need to be put back out there to remind tourist that this will happen and I think signs need to be made more aware of for people as I was there in April this year and I personally think that where the sign is place is not notice able for people to see. It needs to be at the entrance to the car park and another sign.. for the penalty and a contact number for anyone who see stuff happening can ring and report... This need inforcing!! No fences Stop Feeding The Animals people
Animals have right of way whatever.... the penalty need to be put back out there to remind tourist that this will happen and I think signs need to be made more aware of for people as I was there in April this year and I personally think that where the sign is place is not notice able for people to see. It needs to be at the entrance to the car park and another sign.. for the penalty and a contact number for anyone who see stuff happening can ring and report... This need inforcing!! No fences Stop Feeding The Animals people stupink96
  • Score: 2

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