Dogs must be kept on leads in Richmond and Bushy Parks from today (Monday, May 18) until July 8, the Royal Parks authority announced this morning.

The rules are being brought into protect the parks' much-loved deer during their birthing season at this time of year.

In a statement released by the parks authority on Monday, a spokesperson said that over 300 deer are expected to give birth in the coming weeks in what was an "extremely stressful" time for the expectant does.

Your Local Guardian: Deer-birthing areas in Richmond ParkDeer-birthing areas in Richmond Park

"With the first fawn born in Bushy Park yesterday, deer birthing season is now officially underway in Bushy and Richmond Parks!

"From now until early July we are expecting about 300 baby deer to be born across both parks.

"The season marks an incredibly stressful and vulnerable time for the female deer, who are on a constant high state of alert for dogs and other perceived predators.

Your Local Guardian: Deer-birthing areas in Bushy ParkDeer-birthing areas in Bushy Park

"From Monday 18 May until Monday 6 July it will be compulsory for dogs to be on a lead when being walked in Bushy and Richmond Parks.

"During birthing season, mothers hide their young in long grass or bracken. We have published maps highlighting potential deer birthing spots, so dog walkers can plan their route in advance," a Royal Parks spokesperson said.