A frightened sambar deer ran into the playground of an elementary school in eastern Melbourne during their morning break earlier this week, injuring two children.
The deer had been spotted in a nearby backyard earlier in the day, but attempts by a local ranger to corral the spooked animal failed. It broke through a fence and headed towards the local school.
A staff member at the school witnessed the event, and remarked: “It was running very very fast, it was really scared.” As the large animal entered the playground, more than 80 children were sent running for cover.
Sambar deer are the third-largest deer species in the world. They are very shy animals however, and despite their size, they are rarely observed in the wild.
Sambar are not native to Australia, having been introduced to Victoria in the 1860s. This species is in decline across its native habitat in Asia and has been declared a threatened species there, making the healthy population in Australia internationally significant.