Note to Yellowstone visitors: Bison attacks are on the rise, as one selfie-taking woman quickly found out this week. A 43-year-old woman, standing about five yards from a staring bison, turned her back on the animal in order to snap a selfie with her daughter. The bison charged, rammed the woman and sent her airborne. She was treated for minor injuries.
Writes USA Today: “There has been a steep rise in bison attacks on humans in Yellowstone National Park this year, which may be connected to a rise in visitors trying to take selfies or other close-up photos of the animals. The latest injured visitor—the fifth this year—is a 43-year-old woman from Mississippi.”
Park rangers said this is the fifth incident of a tourist being injured after failing to maintain a safe distance from the herd. Many of the individuals were trying to snap close-up photos or selfies.
A statement on National Yellowstone’s website described the attack:
When they turned their backs to the bison to take the picture, someone warned that they were too close. They heard the bison’s footsteps moving toward them and started to run, but the bison caught the mother on the right side, lifted her up and tossed her with its head. The woman’s father covered her with his body to protect her and the bison moved about 3 yards away.
Colleen Rawlings, Old Faithful District Ranger, said, “The family said they read the warnings in both the park literature and the signage, but saw other people close to the bison, so they thought it would be OK. People need to recognize that Yellowstone wildlife is wild, even though they seem docile. This woman was lucky that her injuries were not more severe.”
Adds CNN: “A 16-year-old girl from Taiwan was gored by a bison in May while posing for a photo near Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s famous geyser. She suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries from the attack.”
Individuals seem to have trouble grasping the fact that it’s unsafe to venture too close to the wildlife. Yellowstone Park is not a zoo.
In May, Yellowstone tourists, pursued by a black bear, couldn’t quite decide whether to walk, run or keep snapping photos. Video captured about a dozen or so tourists, gathered on a scenic overlook in Montana near the Wyoming border, casually meandering on the side of the bridge, until a park ranger screams at them to move.
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Park officials warn that bison sprint surprisingly fast – three times as fast as humans – and can unpredictably attack when they feel threatened.