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Woman could be fined for petting bison in Yellowstone National P - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Woman could be fined for petting bison in Yellowstone National Park

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The incident of a woman attempting to pet a bison on opening day in Yellowstone National Park is still being investigated by law enforcement, according to officials. The incident of a woman attempting to pet a bison on opening day in Yellowstone National Park is still being investigated by law enforcement, according to officials.
A man attempts to touch a Yellowstone Bison (Ed Rader, Wyohighcountry) A man attempts to touch a Yellowstone Bison (Ed Rader, Wyohighcountry)
File photo of bison in Yellowstone National Park (Photo credit: Elizabeth Moore) File photo of bison in Yellowstone National Park (Photo credit: Elizabeth Moore)
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The incident of a woman attempting to pet a bison on opening day in Yellowstone National Park is still being investigated by law enforcement, according to officials.

YNP spokeswoman Amy Bartlett confirmed Tuesday that law enforcement is still investigating the incident, but it is not clear if the woman in the video has been identified.

Her actions broke park regulations, Bartlett said, and the woman could face a fine - or more. 

“It’s hard to say,” Bartlett said. “When you harass wildlife, you could face a citation or a mandatory appearance in front of a federal magistrate.”

The judge could then decide punishment. In the park, regardless of location, visitors must adhere to a 25-yard minimum distance from wildlife. 

“We don’t restrict animal movements in the parks,” Bartlett said. “You still need to keep the minimum distance.”

That means even in walking path areas where the bison sat near Old Faithful Lodge. 

Saturday, the day the incident occurred, was opening day for visitors. Since then, there have not been any other reported incidents, Bartlett said.

In 2015, five people were gored by bison, and four of them had to be airlifted for treatment of their injuries. 

“This woman is extremely lucky. We can’t explain why he didn’t get up,” Bartlett said. “His tolerance level hasn’t been tested in quite a few months.”

Bartlett reminded visitors to report incidents like the one on Saturday immediately: “Call 911 and report to the interagency communications center." 



(JULY 27, 2015) In the wake of five people being injured by bison in recent weeks, Yellowstone National Park is offering this advice to people who want to photograph wildlife in the park: "Give them room, use your zoom!"

Park staff posted the message on the Yellowstone National Park Facebook page on Friday, just days after a woman sustained minor injuries after being tossed by a bison. It was the fifth such incident in the park in recent weeks.

The "use your zoom" reference is to several of the people who were injured after getting too close to bison in an effort to get a close-up photo or even a "selfie" with the bison. Instead, people are encouraged to maintain a safe distance and use the zoom feature on their camera or phone

Park officials say that wildlife should not be approached, regardless of how tame or calm they appear. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, visitors must give it a wide berth and keep the required minimum distances of 25 yards away from all large animals -- bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes -- and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

Park officials note that bison can run three times faster than humans can sprint, and are unpredictable and dangerous. Visitors must give the animals enough space and alter their own behavior to avoid interacting with an animal in close proximity.

The Facebook message ends with this advice: "Please help us to keep visitors safe and wildlife wild by setting a good example! Remember to treat animals with proper caution and respect. #‎givethemroom #‎useyourzoom #‎wildlifesafety #‎bison #‎elk"

In addition to last week's incident, here are the other recent bison encounters that resulted in people being injured:

  • In May, a 16-year-old girl from Taiwan was gored by a bison while posing for a photo near Old Faithful, Yellowstone's famous geyser. She suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries from the attack. 
  • On June 2nd, a 62-year-old Australian man was taking pictures within five feet of a bison near Old Faithful Lodge when the animal charged and tossed him into the air several times, according to park officials. He was taken to a hospital for further medical treatment.
  • On June 23rd, a 19-year-old Georgia woman was walking with friends to their car after a late-night swim in the Firehole River when they saw a bison lying about 10 feet away. The animal charged the teen and tossed her in the air, leaving her with minor injuries.
  • Just over a week later, a 68-year-old Georgia woman was hospitalized after being attacked by a bison while hiking on Storm Point Trail. As the woman passed the bison, it charged and gored her. She was taken by helicopter ambulance to a hospital outside the park for treatment.

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