I’ve been visiting the Horniman Gardens Forest hill for years, but lately it’s going down hill and looking uncharacteristically shabby with broken wooden fence posts and garden gates, graffiti , trampled flower beds, benches moved, even the poor rain soaked sheep are getting quite dirty being forced to sleep on bare concrete in their own mess. Then there’s the irresponsible brainless dog walkers who tottally ignore the numerous ’ keep dogs on the lead ’ signs allowing and even encouraging their eager dogs to hunt, and kill the few remaining squirrels which is not only extreamly distressing to witness its especially terrifying for young children trying to see the squirrel then a dog races up and bites it in front of us as happened twice recently. it is a criminal offence under the Hunting with dogs act 2004 and local park Trust By-laws to worry, injure and kill wildlife including squirrels . So if you are one of these dog owners who flout the law, be warned , wildlife safety, visitor safety and quiet peaceful enjoyment of the gardens is now being reported to the wildlife crime police with evidence . Keep your dog on a lead when entering the gardens. Make sure your dog does not run off from the lower meadow area. Walk your dog across the road in the horniman play park, a much more suitable space for dog walking.
Horniman museum and gardens
I suggest if you have concerns you contact the Horniman.
Dogs are only allowed off the lead in the exercise area, if people are not doing that they should be challenged.
Sheep are very hardy animals and don’t really have issues with being rain soaked.
In terms of maintainance I have always found the Gardens beautifully kept but remember it had been a rough couple of years, use of the gardens will have increased massively whilst at the same time the Horniman’s income will dropped significantly.
Grey squirrels have natural predators which leads to the inevitable. Although I’d agree it’s not pleasant to witness domestic animals taking on that job, they will be ‘consumed’ anyway as a natural part of the food cycle.
Which part of which animal welfare law or standard are horniman not complying to with the sheep?
I don’t recognise this picture of the Gardens as a regular visitor. It’s autumn so there are a lot of leaves around and fewer flowers. But there have been crates of leaves at the compost heap area so there’s obviously collection going on, the sunken gardens have been replanted and the wilder areas have been trimmed back.
Every time that I’ve walked past the animal enclosure, the sheep have been in the lowest one where there is a shelter for them, even if they don’t choose to use it.
Many of your gripes are, sadly, not the actions of the Horniman but its visitors’ behaviour. I’m not sure what the Horniman can realistically do other than signpost better behaviour. I seem to recall there was a recent job ad for a head groundskeeper, so perhaps they’ve been tight on staff and remedial work hasn’t been as fast as usual. Perhaps it’s on all of us to call out antisocial behaviour if we see it.
I’ve never seen a dog actually catch a squirrel despite chasing them. Though I agree that there are a lot of walkers who disregard the dog walking area, likely with the thought that their dog is such a good boy, that it doesn’t apply. In most instances, their dog isn’t causing any damage or harm so it’s probably not worth the cost of enforcement.
I grew up on a sheep farm. Those sheep are fine.
I have to agree, sheep have heavy woollen coats for a reason, and i’ve never seen a dog fast enough to catch a squirrel.
Horrible for children to see a dog attack anything including rodents such as grey squirrels and I’m not about to defend that.
But rodents such as grey squirrels are disease carriers and grey squirrels are classed as an invasive species and do a lot of damage not only to trees but to also to birdlife. It’s illegal for example to keep or release a grey squirrel back into the wild.
I’m sure the Horniman must have pest control measures in place, though of the “out of sight, out of mind” type as far as park users are concerned.
There are many myths and misinformation demonising Wild Grey squirrels.
Firstly they do not carry zoonotic disease. Grey squirrels do not destroy trees or decimate bird populations, as claimed by haters, ignorant misinformed media brainwashed people and organisations such as defra who have a fanancial insentive using public money to exploit squirrels for species preference and those with hunting interests.
The persecution and Banning of vetinary and care and release Dec 2019 is sencless cruelty in a country that claims to have animal welfare laws. An act condemmed by the rspca.
Grey squirrels were introduced to the UK over 170 years ago by the Aristocracy to enhance the beauty of stately homes parks and gardens along with many other introduced species which you still see today in London Royal parks.
Grey squirrels are also scientificly proven to be one of the best tree regenerating animals as over 30% of the good tree seeds they Bury will grow into new trees if left alone, in doing this they enormously help the biodiversity of plant and animal species in the natural environment and ultimately help combat climate change.
Further to this friendly engagement with grey squirrels has a proven and highly beneficial effect upon wellbeing and recovery of mental illness.
There is no need to cull harmless scapegoated Grey squirrels, their numbers total under a dozen in the entire gardens, hardly an invasion.
My final point, I do not go to a public space to be traumatised by witnessing hunting with dogs by irresponsible people breaking the law for their own selfish amusement causing unnecessary suffering pain and death to these incredible beautiful and helpful creatures. #greysquirrelsmatter
By natural predetors I assume you mean fox and birds of prey.
The ‘control’ of wildlife in this instance the few remaining grey squirrels at the horniman gardens is not the job of peoples pet dogs, which is illegal in accordance with local authority park order for the control of dogs in public spaces and the governments hunting with dogs law.
The sheep, I would like to see straw bedding provided and adequate protection from wind and rain. The black alpaca died of cold during the last harsh winter. The horniman needs to address these issues and make improvements to ensure the safety and well-being of the Wildlife, animals and the right for peacefull people to enjoy the gardens without fear and disruption. I would suggest that dogs are kept on a lead throughout the gardens, with off lead dog walking across the road in the horniman play park.
The Alpaca had been ill for a while, I don’t think it died of cold. It wasn’t even a particularly harsh winter last year.
You are making a number of accusations here about the Horniman and the animals that live in their gardens. If you have real concerns I suggest you approach them directly.
This post was flagged and is temporarily hidden.
Peep the Alpaca died at the ripe old age of around 16, a decent age for an alpaca. After being unwell for some time according to Horniman. The idea that she died of the cold is unlikely, given the mild climate here compared to harsh conditions in the Andes which alpacas commonly manage. Perhaps you have some evidence, or are you simply trying to trash the Horniman for some reason?
Umm not sure why you are replying to me - I have expressed no views on grey squirrels.
I am not trying to trash the horniman and find that suggestion offensive. I love the horniman gardens and have expressed concerns about squirrels being hunted by irresponsible dog owners allowing their dogs to hunt wildlife in the horniman gardens.
On the alpaca, I was actually told by a member of the Animals enclosure staff that it died off the cold winter conditions!
Like others have indicated above, I’m not sure I recognise the way you are describing things, although I would also agree that the last year will have been trying for the organisation, given likely pandemic-related funding shortfalls.
I am sorry for my choice of words and I meant no offence. But I genuinely did read some of your remarks as a series of pot shots at the Horniman, who are unlikely to respond on this forum. As others have suggested accusations about their animal management and attitude to wildlife are probably best taken up with them.
Tyes that reply to you was supposed to go to troy mcclure
We are sorry to read of some disappointment with our Gardens but are always grateful for any feedback. Thank you also for the number of positive comments. Regarding the concerns raised about some of our animals, we wanted to reassure you that our sheep receive excellent care from our Animal Walk team and have access at all times to indoor and outdoor space and appropriate bedding, along with hay and grass upon which to graze. Having a high standard of animal care is a condition of our zoo licence.
Peep, our black alpaca, died last year due to an illness and was treated by our vet. Peep was around 16 years old and had been unwell for a while so please be assured that her death had nothing to do with the winter. These types of alpaca are well adapted to cold weather. We all miss her very much.
Hunting is not permitted in the Gardens, and we have signage to tell visitors with dogs which parts of the Gardens are for off-leash exercise. If you see someone who is not following these guidelines, please do make a member of the Gardens team aware who can address this as it happens.
For any further feedback please feel free to email [email@example.com] (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Have you witnessed any attacks on squirrels at the Horniman or are you aware of any incidents in the gardens?
I agree that it is important for visitors to keep dogs on leads except in the lower field and feel this is a much more suitable location to let dogs off the lead than the play park across the road, which is focused on play facilities for under 10s.
I haven’t visited the Horniman for a few weeks but I suspect that most parks look a little barren at this time of year. We can’t expect spring blooms all year round. And I have nothing but praise for the wonderful community resource and all the people who work so hard to keep it looking great almost all year round.
Indeed. The Horniman has been a life saver in lockdown and I am immensely.grateful for all the work the staff do to keep it such a lovely place for us all to use.
There has been a number of replies here to my initial post mainly exspressing my concerns for the safety and wellbeing of the few beautiful little grey squirrels in the gardens being chased and hunted by loose dogs every day around the entire horniman gardens not only causing stress and injury to the squirrels it causes distress to people with young children frightened by dogs racing up to try and catch a squirrel you are meeting . It’s very disappointing to see the lack of compassion for the squirrels in the public replies, these animals should have right to live freely without persecution and demonisation in a fare and decent society as all lives matter.
I have called the Horniman about the issue of loose dogs last week and will contact you again as invited to do so.
So the matter can be raised at a meeting to find a solution on control of loose dogs as signs are being ignored by a number of dog walkers…
I love the horniman museum and gardens, it is one of the best parks in London! Now with a lot more visitors for the black community events.
Thank you for your kind informative reply about the Animals, Peeps and the sheep at the horniman gardens. I will try let a member of staff know when I see a loose dog hunting the Wildlife.
As your last post is commenting on the original post I am moving it into the original post to keep the topic in one place.
This sums it all up in a nutshell.
If you have evidence that the dog owners were actually actively seeking to hunt squirrels with dogs then it’s perfectly possible to report it to the police. And if, in the legislation, the definition of ‘hunting with dogs’ includes a situation in which the owner has no intention of hunting with the dog, but the loose dog happens to chase and catch a squirrel before the owner has a chance to stop it, then you would be able to report that too if you have evidence you can provide.
I don’t walk a dog in london but I walk my family’s dog elsewhere and I do think that in dogs in public places need to be under the control of their owners. If the dog’s recall isn’t 100% not only are they apparently a risk to squirrels but also to other dogs and small children and should probably not be off the lead even if they are in areas where they would be permitted to be so. My father’s dog does not yet have reliable recall and therefore will not be off the lead until he has. I do not want him to become the next Fenton the Deerchaser!
Hey dude don’t have a Pop at me I’m on the squirrels side. Couple of years ago I learnt that my great uncle “squirrel Bob” earned his fortune from “collecting” squirrels tails back in the 1950s. When he died he left his fortune to me ( made on the…back of grey squirrels, tuppence a tail☹️) and ever since I’ve dedicated myself to looking after those furry little dudes… peace out.
Yes I have and I am following the advice given by the horniman museum and gardens in their reply.
I also hope that by raising this issue on se23 forum it will help ensure dog owners to take more care and respect for wildlife and signage throughout the gardens.
So the only people speaking sense are the people you agree with and any other opinion doesn’t make sense?
Let’s all remember to be courteous to each other and not insult those you don’t. Thank you to those members who have flagged some of the more obvious examples which has hidden them. The writer will be sent a mail asking them to rewrite so they follow our guidelines.
Please hear another positive comment – you continue to beautifully maintain an absolute haven in the Gardens, and I along with countless others think you’ve done an incredible job over what must have been a virtually impossible period this last 18+ months. Thank you to all your staff for the obvious love and care they put into keeping the space so stunning. Daily walks round it kept me sane last year and this.
I’m so sad to hear the Black Alpaca died-they are such beautiful creatures and brought me much joy during the 1st and 2nd lockdowns.
Are they replacing him/her?
The Horniman is wonderful precious and beautiful local resource.
We are very lucky indeed
I’ve never seen a dog off the lead in the gardens.