The National Park Service is investigating two incidents that injured visitors after encountering bison. While neither case has clear details yet, park officials say this is a reminder for visitors to be vigilant.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced an incident that took place this past Saturday.
Officials at the North Dakota park say they do not know what led up to the attack, but the female victim has significant injuries to her foot and abdomen. An ambulance transported the victim to a hospital. She’s said to be in serious but stable condition.
A second incident in Yellowstone National Park left a woman gored after a bison attacked her. Investigators say this happened Monday morning.
The victim was walking with another person near the north shore of Lake Yellowstone when the animal charged. The woman, from Phoenix, Arizona, is said to have injuries to her chest and abdomen and was transported by helicopter to a hospital.
Park rangers do not know how close the people were to the animal when it charged, and there is no word on her condition. This is the first bison-related injury in the park since June of last year.
A recent uptick in media coverage about close encounters with animals has led many to believe there’s an increase in people getting too close to wildlife, but officials say that’s not true.
“The recent wildlife violations . . . are uncommon and severe,” said Linda Veress, a Yellowstone public information specialist, in an email to Outdoors.com. “They also, unfortunately, happened in rapid succession.”
The National Park Service urges visitors to remember a few things when visiting parks with animals like bison:
- Visitors should stay at least 25 yards (two full-sized school buses) away from large animals.
- Be extra cautious during mating season, which runs from mid-July to mid-August.
- Bison are known to be unpredictable and can run three times as fast as a human.
For more park guidelines, check out Outdoors.com’s national park etiquette guidelines.