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'I thought I was going to die': woman savagely gored by rutting stag in Richmond Park

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 13/10/2017 BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER

© Provided by Independent Print Limited A woman was savagely gored by a rutting stag as she strolled through Richmond Park.

Yuan Li, 43, feared for her life when she was stabbed through the thigh and her stomach as she was mauled in front of horrified tourists.

Ms Li had decided to visit the park to take advantage of the “glorious autumnal sunshine” on Friday when she was set upon.

The hat maker from Leytonstone had been filming, zoomed in, on a group of deer on her mobile phone from a “safe distance” of around 50 metres.

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As she reviewed the footage, she looked up to see one of the stags in front of her, charging towards her.

Ms Li told the Standard: “I thought I was going to die. He attacked me with his antlers. It went into my body. I was mauled on the ground screaming.

“It attacked my stomach where all the major organs and arteries are - I was so scared. All the other tourists standing near by were so scared and running away. There was so much blood.”

Video footage shows the deer bellowing as onlookers take photographs moments before the brutal attack.

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Ms Li said it probably lasted around 30 seconds, but “felt like forever”.

“I did not realise how dangerous it would be. It was such a strong force.

“It pushed me to the ground until I did not move any more. There was blood everywhere.”

One of the deer’s antler’s went straight through Ms Li’s thighs. She was rushed to St George’s Hospital in Tooting and underwent an operation.

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Doctors feared she had lacerated her bladder. She had six separate puncture wounds and suffered blood clots and extensive bruising.

Ms Li said: “They had to find a specialist doctor to stitch me up because the wounds were so unique. Luckily the deer did not tear any of my organs.”

Richmond Park, once a royal hunting ground, is home to about 345 red deer and 315 fallow deer, while 300 of the animals roam nearby Bushy Park.

During the breeding season, between September and November, male deer roar, grunt and clash antlers in an attempt to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible. The battles for supremacy can be so vicious that the animals are injured or killed.

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The milliner, who is now recuperating at home, today criticised the Royal Parks for not providing adequate warnings about the dangers to visitors.

She said: “There were other people close to them too, including a mother and baby taking photos. It’s horrifying to think what might have happened to them.

“Maybe there were too many visitors. But I did not see any park rangers or warning signs about the deer. I don’t blame the animal but it should be managed better in the park to protect people.”

In recent years several people have been hurt by rutting deer. In 2012, a young girl was taken to hospital with head, wrist and chest injuries after being gored by a stag in Bushy Park.

Adam Curtis, park manager for Richmond Park, said they had “prominent warning signs at key locations” asking people to stay at least 50m away from deer, and urged anyone visiting the park to “keep their distance to prevent a more serious accident happening in the future”.

He added: “We’re very sorry to hear a woman has been injured and we hope she makes a speedy recovery.

“Stags are wild animals and especially unpredictable at this time. They’re pumped full of testosterone and can act aggressively, especially if they feel threatened.

“This is a frightening accident, and a powerful warning to others why it is dangerous to crowd deer, especially during the autumn rutting season.”

A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 4.41pm on Friday, October 6, to reports of an incident at Richmond Park.

“We treated a female patient on the scene for leg and abdomen injuries and took her to hospital as a priority.” 


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