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Visitor Attacked And Injured By Bison At Reopened Yellowstone National Park

Visitor Attacked And Injured By Bison At Reopened Yellowstone National Park

On the afternoon of May 20, 2020, a female visitor was knocked to the ground and injured by a bison.

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most stunning locations you can visit. Boasting nearly 3,500-sq.-miles of wilderness this park is on the bucket list of many Americans.

Not only is Yellowstone the home of dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, it is also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope.

The Yellowstone Park bison heard is know to be one of the oldest and largest in the United States. In August 2019, 4,829 bison were counted in the park. This includes two primary breeding herds: northern (3,667) and central (1,162). While American Bison were once numbered in the millions they were hunted to near extinction making the Yellowstone herds something special. It is believed that the bison found at Yellowstone are perhaps the only herd that had continued to live in the wild as they were not re-introduced there like the wolves, they have simply continued to exist.

Daniel Mayer / CC BY-SA
Daniel Mayer / CC BY-SA

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Yellowstone National Park recently reopened on a limited basis. The park has been closed to visitors since March 24, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the afternoon of May 20, 2020, a female visitor was knocked to the ground and injured by a bison.

The dramatic incident happened in the Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin after approaching the animal too closely (inside 25 yards). This is the first bison attack of 2020.

In a press release given by Yellowstone National Park, visitors are given a harsh reminder. "Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity."

Aline Dassel / Pixabay
Aline Dassel / Pixabay

The incident is currently under investigation but we do know that park emergency medical providers responded to the incident immediately. The unidentified woman was assessed but refused transport to a medical facility.

According to a study on bison attacks released in December 2018, the median number of attack in the 15 year period was one per year.

Of the 21 people injured in bison attacks, the study says 20 people, or 80 percent of the total, actively approached a bison.

  • Five people, 20 percent of the total, were attacked after failing to retreat when a bison began to charge
  • Around 12 people, 48 percent of the total, were attacked while attempting to take photos of bison

You may remember the dramatic video of a young girl last summer. The 9-year-old was not seriously injured, but the video showed the bull charging and sending her flying into the air.

https://youtu.be/bV_gsqScbVo

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