Watch Ice Skater Save Stranded Deer Family Who Lost Their Footing on a Frozen Lake

A Canadian man managed to save a deer and her two fawns who were found stranded on a frozen lake in Ontario.

Ryan Peterson was skating at the Lake of the Woods near Kenora during his lunch break when he came across a family of white tail deer splayed on the ice after losing their footing on the slippery surface, Storyful reports.

Peterson decided to help the deer and went back to work to get some rope in an attempt to pull the deer off the lake. "The ice was still too thin for any kind of vehicle, so skating was the only option," Peterson told Storyful.

"I figured I'd go back and eat lunch and grab some rope," he told The Guardian. "I gave them about an hour or so. They were still in the same place, when I came back…and that's when I pulled them into shore."

After retrieving some rope, Peterson skated towards the mother deer first, approaching cautiously.

"If they're upright, they can kick you," Peterson told The Guardian. "[But] once they're down on the ice, their legs are flat out and they can't lift them," he added.

He tied a rope around the neck of the mother and pulled her along while skating toward the edge of the lake, after which he skated back over the lake and did the same with the two fawns.

All three deer were safely brought to the rocky outcropping of the lake where Peterson gently prodded them with a tree branch, to usher them off the ice as they attempted to regain their footing.

"The two younger ones took off running right away, but the doe stuck around with what seemed like an injured hip or leg," Peterson said.

Peterson notified Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry but was told that since the lake was not entirely frozen, it would not be safe for anyone to immediately visit the scene to further assess the situation, Storyful reports.

Speaking to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said: "Public safety is our number one priority and while the ministry appreciates the kindness of Ontarians, we advise the public and our staff not to place themselves at risk attempting to save wild animals."

It has not been confirmed whether the ministry sent a staff member to assess the scene at a later time or what happened to the injured deer.

The article has been updated with comment from Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Deers snow field near Oloron-Sainte-Marie france
Deer run in a snow-covered field on February 3, 2015 outside the French southwestern town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie. Getty Images