The National Park Service is reminding everyone who visits Yellowstone National Park to stay a safe distance away from all wildlife after a woman was recently gored there by a bison.
“Wildlife in Yellowstone are wild and can be dangerous when approached,” according to the National Park Service (NPS). “When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space.”
The Recent Incident
As a bison walked near a boardwalk at Black Sand Basin — near Old Faithful — on May 30, a 25-year-old woman from Grove City, Ohio, approached the bison and got within 10 feet of it. The bison then gored the woman and tossed her 10 feet into the air, according to the NPS.
Two other people were also within 25 yards of the same bison, but they were not gored.
The woman, who sustained a puncture wound and other injuries, was immediately treated by park emergency personnel before being transported by ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, the NPS reports. There are no updates about her current condition.
“This is the first reported incident in 2022 of a visitor threatening a bison [getting too close to the animal] at Yellowstone and the bison responding to the threat by goring the individual,” the NPS explains.
While this may be the first bison-human incident of 2022 at Yellowstone, bison — who can run three times faster than humans — do sometimes injure humans who threaten them. For instance, in 2020, a 72-year-old woman trying to take photos of a bison was gored by the animal, according to park officials. Then, just 1 month later, another woman played dead to avoid an attack after she tripped while running away from a bison she had approached too closely, according to Today.
How To Safely Appreciate Bison And Other Wildlife
There were more than 5,400 bison in Yellowstone last year, the NPS reports.
Male bison — known as bulls — can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and be 6 feet tall. Female bison — known as cows — can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and be 4–5 feet tall, according to the Department of the Interior. Interestingly, bison calves typically weigh between 30 and 70 pounds at birth.
“The animals, including bison, in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be,” the NPS notes.
To give wildlife space, NPS regulations require visitors to stay more than 25 yards away from all large animals, which includes bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes. Visitors must stay at least 100 yards from bears and wolves.
If you’re interested in taking pictures of wildlife, park officials recommend using the “rule of thumb.” Here’s how to do that: Hold your thumb up and out at arm’s length. If you can cover the entire wild animal with your thumb, you’re probably a safe distance away.
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