Bison Attacks Investigation at Yellowstone National Park

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Bison Attack
Courtesy of Travis Wiens (Flickr CC0)

Authorities say a bison attacked a Yellowstone National Park visitor on Monday, and a second person was gored by the animal three days later. The woman, who was gored while trying to get back to her car, was taken to a hospital, where authorities said she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

A bison mauled a 25-year-old Ohio woman at the end of May in the first reported bison attacks of the year. Park officials confirmed that during the Bison attack, the woman was tossed 10ft (3m) into the air after coming too close to the animal while hiking in the park.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, video footage that emerged showed a bison attacking someone by charging at and goring the visitor. An older woman was injured when she got close to Bison on a boardwalk near the Old Faithful geyser. The 34-year-old man and his family from Pennsylvania were near the park’s iconic Old Faithful geyser when the incident happened.

A video clip acquired by U.S. networks showed the man scurrying his child out of the bull bison’s trail before being tossed into the air. He suffered an arm injury and was later treated at a nearby hospital in Idaho, according to park officials.

Bison living in Yellowstone are highly territorial and aggressive. This increases the likelihood of Bison attacks. Park officials have constantly cautioned visitors that the bull bison in the park are wild and dangerous, even though they can travel at speeds of up to 30mph (48kph). Bison attacks have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal, park officials say.

Bison Attack
Courtesy of Kevin Oliver (Flickr CC0)

Yellowstone National Park rangers advise visitors to stay at least 75 feet away from wild Bison. If contact with the animal is unavoidable, they must “turn around and go the other way to evade interaction with a wild animal in proximity.” The park has about 5,000 bison in two major groups. They can weigh 2,000 pounds (900kg) or more.

NPS officials say that all three Bison attacks are being investigated and that visitor safety is their top priority. NPS repeatedly stressed in statements that Bison attacks are dangerous and must be kept at least 75 feet from visitors to reduce the risk of interaction.

To reduce the risk of bison attacks, visitors must stay from all Bison. The park will reopen some areas on July 2, several weeks after flooding forced officials to close sections of the park, NPS announced Thursday. It will also stop its alternating authorization plate procedure to limit the number of park visitors. When the changes are made, 93% of the park’s roads will be open.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Marrissa Kay


BBC: Bison attacks woman at Yellowstone National Park
6 ABC: West Chester woman gored by bison at Yellowstone National Park
CBS: 71-year-old woman is second visitor to be attacked by a bison in Yellowstone National Park this week; by Emily Mae Czachor

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Travis Wiens’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Kevin Oliver’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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