A 25-year-old woman suffered injuries after encountering a bison near the Old Faithful Geyser basin in Yellowstone National Park. NBC and other news organizations reported she succumbed to her injuries, but have since redacted that statement.
According to a National Park Service (NPS) press release, the Grove City, Ohio, woman approached to within 10 feet of the bison before the animal delivered a blow that propelled her high into the air, leaving her with severe puncture wounds and other injuries.
The incident occurred on Monday, May 30, as the woman walked along a boardwalk trail at the Black Sand Basin area immediately north of the Old Faithful Geyser. Two other individuals were also within 25 yards of the same bison, NPS said.
After she was gored, the woman was transported via ambulance to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
On official signage and in park literature, NPS repeatedly implores visitors to remain at least 25 yards away from large mammals like bison at all times.
The bison is North America’s largest land animal, with mature bulls often weighing upwards of 2,000 pounds. In the late 1800s, the species nearly blinked out in the face of unregulated market hunting. But the existence of remnant herds living inside Yellowstone National Park helped save the North American bison from extinction.
Today, the animals are so commonplace in America’s first national park that many unaccustomed visitors assume they are docile and approachable. But when a lumbering bison feels threatened, it can turn on a dime, achieving speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour almost immediately.
While this is the first reported bison goring of a Yellowstone visitor during the 2022 season, similar incidents are all too common.
According to Forbes, a 2000 study found that bison charged people 81 times over a period of 22 years, killing two. Just last year, a woman was seriously injured by a bison while hiking in a popular part of the park known as Storm Point.
Around the same time, a woman was bluff charged by a sow grizzly with cubs after she deliberately encroached on the bear with a cell phone camera rolling. A disturbing video of this incident shows the woman behaving more like she’s in an urban zoo than the wild domain of a dangerous predator.
“Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild and can be dangerous when approached,” NPS officials reminded park visitors in the press release. “When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay more than 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. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.”
MeatEater sends wishes for the woman's full recovery.