The moment a wayward pet caused a stampede of dozens of deer including several fully-grown stags in a London park has been cpatured by a photographer.
The animals were chased across Richmond Park in southwest London by a dog before crossing back across one of the park’s waterways and straight towards the lens of the lucky snapper.
The unnamed photographer was capturing the park’s famous red and fallow deer from a distance when suddenly he saw them moving at speed.
Bucks startled by the appearance of the pet launched themselves into the water creating a spectacular splashing scene
The animals moved as a group towards the photographer to escape the marauding pet, placing him in the perfect spot
The lucky snapper was able to capture the speed and energy of the deer as they ran past his lens leaving the dog in their wake
He realised the animals were stampeding after fleeing from a dog off the lead, which was chasing them.
Eventually the wild animals gathered in a protective group and the dog could no longer worry them and the stampede ran out of steam.
The photographer said: ‘The dog chased the deer across the river, then it was chasing them in circles.
Deer in the distance start to move as the large brown dog (circled) heads in their direction across the grass they graze
As the dog picks up speed the panic among the deer increases and they run fast into the gloom of Richmond Park, as one buck trots into the water towards the camera
‘Luckily, then the group came together so the dog couldn’t pick off a single one.
‘I wasn’t expecting the deer to circle back and come back across the river.’
The 630 red and fallow deer of the park, which is a national Nature Reserve, have been roaming freely since 1637. The deer have played a major role in the park’s history and have shaped the landscape too.
Its grassland is dependent on grazing by the herds and the parkland trees have a distinctive ‘browse line’ as the deer eat all the leaves and twigs growing below about 1.5 metres.
Nine of the animals entered the water in a group and picked up speed as they ran from the dog in the London parkland
The bucks were joined by others as the animals sought refuge in safety in numbers having fled the grassland they graze
Deer grazing also prevents tree seedlings from growing, keeping the grassland open.
During the autumn breeding season the bucks roar, bark, and clash antlers as they compete for the attentions of the females.
The young are born between May and July and are hidden by their mothers in the bracken and long grass.