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Extra care needed on forest walks in France

People taking advantage of the start of deconfinement to go for a forest walk should be careful because animals will be especially sensitive to being disturbed by human presence at this time, say national nature organisations.

11 May 2020

National forest office ONF says wild animals have got used to living in a calm forest during the confinement period plus they are already more sensitive during spring as it is the birth season.

During confinement, the calm and the absence of noise have made wild animals “less shy” and “therefore more sensitive”, says the ONF and bird protection charity Ligue pour la protection des oiseaux (LPO).

The two organisations report having been able to hear many birds and amphibians in forests recently and say they have noted an increased presence of animals in the daytime during the two months of confinement.

LPO spokesperson Carine Carbon Brémond said: “Walkers could encounter deer and wild boar in the forest. It is important not to scare them.”

They ask people to be careful during their walks so as not to disturb the animals and ask owners of dogs to watch their dogs. Keeping them on a leash is mandatory during the birth season, from April 15 to June 30.

The ONF also warns people to be careful on the road to avoid hitting deer which are no longer used to the dangers of the road.

The LPO also calls on walkers to "take precautions" to avoid "the unintentional destruction of wild animals and plants that have spread to certain areas during confinement".

President of the LPO Allain Bougrain Dubourg said in a statement: "Wildlife flourished in the absence of man. It has occupied in an unprecedented way spaces that were forbidden to it. Today, nature must not lose what it has gained during confinement." ​

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