A 72-year-old woman has been hospitalized after she was gored by a bison at Yellowstone National Park while attempting to take its photo, park officials announced.
The incident occurred Thursday at the woman's campsite at Bridge Bay Campground, according to a press release from the National Park Service.
Yellowstone officials said the California woman came within 10 feet of the bison "multiple times to take its photo" before the wild animal gored her.
She was given immediate medical attention by park rangers before getting airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, the press release stated. Her condition is currently unknown.
Park officials said the incident is under investigation, but urged visitors to be mindful about coming near the wild animals while on their grounds.
"The series of events that led to the goring suggest the bison was threatened by being repeatedly approached to within 10 feet," Yellowstone’s senior bison biologist Chris Geremia said in a statement.
"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," Geremia continued. "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."
Officials also encouraged visitors to stay more than 25 yards away from elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes, regardless of where they are in the national park. For bears and wolves, a distance of at least 100 yards should be maintained, they said.
In the event that a tourist accidentally gets too close to an animal, officials recommended that they turn around and go the other way to avoid any interaction.
This is far from the first time there has been a clash between humans and Yellowstone bison.
In May 2018, a bison rammed into a 72-year-old woman, pushing her off the trail she was on. Three months later, a man was sentenced to 130 days in jail for taunting a bison at the park.
Then in July 2019, a bison charged at a group of 50 visitors who were within 5-10 feet of the animal, flipping and injuring a 9-year-old girl in the process.
Most recently in May, just two days after Yellowstone reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic, a woman was injured by a bison after she approached the animal too closely. The incident marked the first time that a bison had injured a visitor in 2020.
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