GREAT FALLS — A 72-year old woman was gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park on Thursday, June 25.
A news release from park officials says the tourist approached within 10 feet of a bison several times to take its photo, and the bison gored her. It happened Thursday evening at the woman's campsite at Bridge Bay Campground.
Rangers provided immediate medical care to the woman who sustained numerous goring wounds. She was then flown via helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
“The series of events that led to the goring suggest the bison was threatened by being repeatedly approached to within 10 feet,” said Yellowstone’s senior bison biologist, Chris Geremia. “Bison are wild animals that respond to threats by displaying aggressive behaviors like pawing the ground, snorting, bobbing their head, bellowing, and raising their tail. If that doesn’t make the threat (in this instance it was a person) move away, a threatened bison may charge. To be safe around bison, stay at least 25 yards away, move away if they approach, and run away or find cover if they charge.”
This is the second incident of a bison injuring a visitor in 2020; the park re-opened several weeks ago after a prolonged COVID-19 closure.
Several recent incidents involving visitors and wildlife at Yellowstone:
- Earlier this month, a visitor was knocked to the ground after getting too close to a bison.
- In July 2019, a group of about 50 people got too close to a bison, which then charged and knocked a 9-year-old girl into the air. Click here for details and video.
- A visitor to Yellowstone recorded in May of 2019 a small dog running around and barking at two bison .
- In July of 2018, a man was caught on camera taunting a bison on a road in Hayden Valley. He was later sentenced to 130 days in jail by a federal judge in Wyoming.
- In September of 2018, a man was knocked down by an elk while standing on the side of the road. He was not injured.
Park officials says that animals in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, visitors must give it space. Stay 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.
Bison are the largest mammal in North America. Males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand up to six feet tall, according to the Department of Interior.