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New signs to warn visitors against feeding New Forest animals

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NEW signs warning visitors against feeding New Forest animals have been installed at tourist hotspots ahead of the summer season.

The A-boards are in 16 car parks across the national park thanks to funding from the verderers and Forestry England.

The campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers of feeding New Forest livestock was prompted by a series incidents earlier this year when at least three horses died or became seriously ill after being fed by the public.

As reported in the A&T, one pony died from choking on a carrot and a second required emergency veterinary treatment after eating a pie.

Speaking at the time, Official Verderer Lord Manners said he was “saddened” at the latest incidents, adding: “No matter how well intentioned, feeding the ponies is forbidden in the Forest for very good reasons.

“Not only does it change the ponies’ foraging behaviours, but it may cause choke and can and does kill.

“Fed ponies can become aggressive, they learn to approach people and demand food if they think someone has some to offer.”

The movable A-boards will initially be trialled in car parks which have been identified as locations where most interaction between the public and commoners animals take place.

The success of the scheme will be monitored by Forestry England rangers with the prospect of a further 20 A-boards being purchased.

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