'Barking' muntjac deer spotted in Rufford and Preston woodland

muntjac deer Image copyright Lancashire Widlife Trust
Image caption Muntjac deer have a distinctive barking call

A herd of exotic deer with a distinctive dog-like bark have been spotted in Lancashire woodland.

The muntjac deer were seen at Mere Sand Wood, near Rufford, and Nab Wood reserves, near Preston.

Also known as a barking deer, the animals, which are native to southern Asia, are thought to have come from a private herd.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust said people should report any sightings of them as they "do a lot of harm in woodland".

South Lancashire Reserves Officer John Haddon said the animals, which eat bluebells and primulas, were "not easy to spot and could easily be mistaken for dogs".

"They are small, compared to roe deer, and do not have the distinctive white tail like roes."

He added that the "introduced" deer were believed to be part of a herd that has been seen around Samlesbury.

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