Yellowstone staff at the supervolcano site say they are concerned over the unusually high number of Bison attacks on visitors in recent months, and are urging visitors caution.
Yellowstone spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said, “we usually have one to two incidents per year“, acknowledging the fact that the park has suffered four incidents in the space of less than two months.
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Almost 5,000 bison live in Yellowstone, located mostly in Wyoming and the only place in the United States where the animals have lived continuously since prehistoric times.
With July 4 approaching, the nation’s national parks are entering their busiest season, and park officials are urging tourists to take extra care around wild animals.
Yellowstone’s regulations require visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from all large animalsand 100 yards away from bears and wolves. “Bison can sprint three times faster than humans can run and are unpredictable and dangerous,” park officials warn.
Some tourists may provoke animals by getting too close to them. The consequences of treating wild animals like they’re domesticated or in a zoo can be deadly, officials say.
On June 2, a 62-year-old Australian man visiting Yellowstone was seriously injured after getting too close to a bison near Old Faithful Lodge.
The man was reportedly within 5 feet of the bison while taking pictures when the animal charged him and tossed him into the air several times, according to park reports. The man was taken to a hospital for further medical treatment.
On May 15, a 16-year-old Taiwanese girl was gored by a bison while posing for a photo near Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s famous geyser. She had been hiking near the bison, which was grazing next to a trail.
The girl suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries from the attack, the park service said.