Female Tourist Injured by Bison 2 Days After Yellowstone National Park Reopens amid Pandemic

The woman was knocked to the ground and injured after officials said she came too close to the wild animal

bison in Yellowstone
A bison in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Will Powers/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

A woman was injured by a bison in Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday after she approached the animal too closely, officials said.

The incident came just two days after Yellowstone reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic, and also marked the first time that a bison had injured a visitor in 2020, according to a press release from the National Park Service.

A spokesperson for Yellowstone said the unidentified woman was knocked to the ground by the bison in the Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin after coming within 25 yards of the wild animal.

Park emergency medical providers were immediately called to the scene to assess the tourist, who refused to be transported to a medical facility, according to the press release.

The incident is currently under investigation by officials.

In the wake of the dangerous encounter, Yellowstone officials reminded visitors that all wildlife in the park should be treated with caution.

"When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space," the press release stated. "Stay 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves."

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.

RELATED VIDEO: Bison Injures Visitor at Yellowstone National 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.

The modern tourist’s penchant for selfies, including those with wild animals, has also created problems for national parks across the country.

Yellowstone National Park closed March 24 amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a press release from park officials.

The nearly 3,500-square-mile area started phase 1 of its reopening on May 18, with only limited areas being accessible to visitors, including the South and East entrances in the state of Wyoming, the lower loop of the Grand Loop Road, restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails and boardwalks.

Other areas of the park, including the Montana entrances, will be reopened at a later date when it is safe to do so, officials said in the release.

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