Tragedy almost happened at Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday when a crowd got too close to the wildlife, leading one of the park’s bison to gore a woman, according to park officials.
“Kim Hancock, of Santa Rosa, California, was attacked after she and others got within 10 yards of the bison while walking along a boardwalk at the Fountain Paint Pot in the park’s Lower Geyer Basin, the National Park Service said in a press release,” according to ABC News.
As the bison approached the boardwalk and crossed, it became irritated and charged at the crowd and gored Hancock, 59. Park officials said it then left the area. Park rangers responded quickly and treated the woman for a hip injury. Hancock was soon transported by ambulance to the Big Sky Medical Center in Big Sky, Montana. Officials say she is in good condition. This latest attack comes days after two people were attacked in separate incidents by elk.
“On Sunday, a 51-year-old employee at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel was attacked by a mother elk protecting its calf about 20 feet away, hidden by cars. The woman was airlifted to a nearby trauma center to be treated for severe injuries,” according to ABC News. The next attack happened on Tuesday when a 53-year-old Texas woman surprised an elk and a calf when she walked between two cabins at the hotel. Even though the woman tried to back away, she was pursued by the elk who struck her in the head and torso. She was treated at a nearby hospital.
As tourists begin flocking national parks now that school is out, park officials are wanting to remind people that these are wild animals and shouldn’t be approached, especially when they have their calves with them. Every year there are injuries and deaths because people have ignored the warnings. Moms of all species become extra protective when it comes to their young. They suggest that people should stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. As for all other animals, like bison and elk, staying at least 25 yards away is a good rule of thumb.
They also advise that you never pursue an animal in an attempt to take a picture. If an animal moves toward you, back away to keep that safe distance. Also, if you cause an animal to move, you are too close. Officials also suggest that you should park in roadside pullouts when watching and photographing animals and definitely do not block traffic.