The red deer stag that took residence in Croydon’s Park Hill recreation ground has been successfully moved to a new home, leaving the park once again open for enjoyment by the public.
The stag, boasting an impressive set of antlers, was ushered into the park on Thursday 24 September after being spotted wandering along the adjacent railway lines. It remains unclear as to where he came from, or how he found his way onto the tracks.
Officers from the council’s parks team took the decision to close the park, both to contain the stag and ensure his, and the public’s, safety. There was a fear that he might become aggressive were he approached, and possibly cause injury to himself or inquisitive onlookers.
There followed a week’s research, negotiation and seeking of professional advice as officers looked into the best way to deal with the stag, and to find him a safe and secure new home. And, while those behind-the-scenes talks on his welfare were going on, staff maintained a vigil to ensure the stag remained undisturbed and had a supply of food and water.
It was decided that the best course of action would be to tranquilise the stag, have a specialist vet assess his health and check him for injury, load him onto a trailer, and then, when he’d recovered consciousness, transport him to his new home.
All that happened early on Sunday morning with the help of a team of experts from Specialist Wildlife Services, and the stag is now happily taking in his new surroundings on a hunt-free private estate in one of the Home Counties.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
“While we’re always welcoming of visitors to Croydon, the unannounced arrival of our antlered guest in Park Hill was not without its challenges.
“Our parks officers, however, rose to those challenges, ensuring that the stag was properly cared for during his week’s stay, and that safe and suitable alternative accommodation was found, to which he’s been moved and, we’re told, settling in nicely.
“I’d like to thank everybody for their patience while the park was closed, but I’m sure they understood why that had to be and, like me, are glad of the happy outcome.”