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‘Look, but don’t touch’ visitors to New Forest are warned as child hurt after getting too close to grazing pony





A CHILD was hurt after getting too close to a New Forest pony as police and local authorities remind visitors to “look, but don’t touch”.

Reported by officers on social media, the incident took place on Saturday, but the girl did not suffer serious injuries.

People risk a stiff fine if they pet any of the free-roaming ponies or donkeys.

New Forest visitors are being told to "look, but don't touch" (picture: Hampshire police)
New Forest visitors are being told to "look, but don't touch" (picture: Hampshire police)

It is an offence to feed or touch any of the animals under two Public Space Protection Orders brought in after several animals died from eating human food.

There have also been incidents of people being injured after approaching ponies and donkeys in the Forest.

The police post after Saturday’s incident said: “Yesterday a child was injured after it got too close to one of the wild ponies grazing on the New Forest.

“Luckily she wasn’t seriously hurt, but it is a timely reminder of why it’s now an offence to pet or feed ponies and donkeys.

“So please if you are coming to the New Forest look, but don’t touch.”

People face heavy fines for petting or feeding New Forest livestock (picture: Hampshire police)
People face heavy fines for petting or feeding New Forest livestock (picture: Hampshire police)

Those caught touching Forest stock face a fixed penalty fine of £100, rising to £1,000 following a successful prosecution.

Over the first three months of the new PSPOs being introduced, rangers used them to intervene in 152 incidents involving more than 700 people.

More than 120 of the incidents involved petting and feeding ponies or donkeys.

Two Public Space Protection Orders were brought in after several animals died from eating human food (picture: Forestry England)
Two Public Space Protection Orders were brought in after several animals died from eating human food (picture: Forestry England)

Forestry England community ranger Charlotte Belcher said: “When we speak to people feeding or petting ponies, they often think it’s not doing any harm and that because it’s something they have always done it must be okay.

“Neither is the case. These are wild animals and getting too close poses risks to them and the public.”

Teams from FE, the New Forest National Park Authority and the verderers regularly patrol and engage with the public to explain the rules.



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