Another human has been attacked by a bison in Yellowstone National Park. All cases have one cause in common.
Yellowstone National Park is currently making headlines with a series of bison attacks on humans. In all cases, the reason is that people came too close to the animals. The large, stately wild cattle have a pronounced territorial behavior – in encounters in which a certain distance is undercut, they attack immediately.
According to the national park administration, the latest victim is a 71-year-old woman from Pennsylvania who and her daughter inadvertently approached a bison while walking back to their car. The case is currently still under investigation.
The bison bull attacked the women and took the 71-year-old by the horns. The woman had to be taken to a hospital, but her injuries are not life-threatening.
Yellowstone National Park has reported three bison attacks since May
According to official information, this is the third attack by bison on people in Yellowstone National Park this year. At the end of May, a bison speared a 25-year-old and threw her three meters through the air. According to the park, the young woman from Ohio had approached to within a few meters. She suffered stab wounds, among other things.
And just on Tuesday of this week, a 34-year-old family man from Colorado was attacked. According to official information, he was walking with his family on a boardwalk when a bull bison charged the group. The group continued on its course, after which the animal attacked again. The man reportedly managed to rescue his child from the danger zone before the bull took him by the horns. He was hospitalized with arm injuries.
The national park administration expressly warns against approaching the large animals, which can weigh up to 900 kilos. Bison are the largest land mammals in North America – and also arguably one of the most dangerous, as they can accelerate to great speeds. According to the national park administration, they can run almost 50 kilometers per hour – that is significantly more than humans can do.
Even experienced rangers prefer to give the animals a wide berth instead of going below the attack distance. If you get too close to a bison, you should walk away or run away, according to the recommendation, but under no circumstances oppose the animal. If you follow the bison, you can defend yourself with bear repellent spray.
Running away helps – at least when encountering bison
Under no circumstances should you get closer than 75 feet to the animals, warn wildlife experts. That’s the equivalent of about 23 meters. If you fall below this distance, bison react with violent and very aggressive attacks, as happened in the three current cases. “Bisons have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal. They are unpredictable and can run three times as fast as humans,” warns the national park administration.
Around 5000 of these majestic animals live in Yellowstone National Park, which is about 9000 square kilometers in size and is mainly located in Wyoming, divided into two herds. According to media reports, it is the largest number of bison on public land in the United States. Bison, once nearly extinct, are also found in several national parks in Canada.
Sources: Notice from Yellowstone National Park, CNN, BBC
Watch a video from our archive: During the mating season, bison bulls fight hard for the favor of the females. A US national park wants to warn tourists not to keep their distance from the animals. This impressive video should do the trick.