Bison injures woman at Yellowstone 2 days after park reopens

U.S. & World

Large male of bison in the forest

(WLNS) — Yellowstone National Park officials say a woman was injured when she was knocked to the ground after getting too close to a bison near the popular Old Faithful Geyser.

The visitor, whose name and age have not been released, was injured Wednesday afternoon but refused to be taken to a hospital. Park officials did not provide any details about her injuries.

The incident is the first time a bison has injured a visitor this year. 

Injuries of tourists by bison and other wildlife occur regularly in Yellowstone, which gets about 4 million visitors annually. Last year, a bull bison tossed a 9-year-old Florida girl into the air when the animal charged a group of about 50 tourists. In 2018, a California woman was gored by a bull bison in the park after a crowd of visitors got too close to the animal. 

In March, the park started capturing bison migrating outside the park to hold them in pens for possible slaughter as part of a population reduction program.

Visitors are required to stay at least 25 yards away from large animals, including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes, and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

Yellowstone reopened on Monday in Wyoming, but park officials continued to talk with Montana officials about reopening the rest of the park after a seven-week closure, park superintendent Cam Sholly said.

Sholly described Yellowstone’s split approach as a good way to help rangers get ready for a new visitor experience that discourages shoulder-to-shoulder crowding at thermal features, a summer scene common in Yellowstone.

A “massive amount of signage” was put up to promote social distancing, Sholly said, adding that public cooperation would determine when all park services could resume without further interruption.

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