London - A girl aged seven who was gored by a stag in a royal park is believed to have been posing "very close" to the animal for family photos.
The unnamed child was rushed to hospital with a serious thigh wound after the attack in rutting season when stags are unpredictable and aggressive.
She was gored on Wednesday afternoon in Bushy Park, Hampton, south-west London, which has more than 300 wild deer in its 1,100 acres. The girl was treated at the scene by an air ambulance trauma crew. There are signs across the park warning visitors to stay at least 50 metres away from stags.
People are advised not to photograph the animals at "close range" or feed or touch them. The terrifying incident comes a year after a woman was gored in the thigh and stomach by a rutting stag in nearby Richmond Park.
Bill Swan, assistant manager at Bushy, said: "We’re very sorry to hear that a girl has been gored in the thigh by a stag. We sincerely hope she makes a full and speedy recovery. This is a very frightening incident."
He added: "Eye-witnesses reported to us that the family was standing very close to the stag and taking photos, even though there are signs up telling people not to get too close to the deer."
Mr Swan warned: "Stags are wild animals and they are especially unpredictable at this time of year and can act defensively if they are aggravated or feel cornered."