“Family members did not leave the area and the bull bison continued to attack and ignite the male,” the Park Service said.
The man suffered an arm injury and was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, the hospital for Yellowstone.
It is unclear how close the man was to the bison before the attack. Located mostly in Wyoming, the park requires visitors to stay more than 25 feet from bison. The Park Service said this was another case of a visitor being “too close to the animal.”
“This incident is still under investigation and there is no additional information to share,” the Park Service said.
Less than a month ago, a 25-year-old woman from Grove City, Ohio, was gored by a bison and thrown ten feet into the air on Memorial Day after getting too close to the animal. While on a boardwalk near Black Sand Basin, the woman approached within 10 feet of the animal, park officials said. Two other people were also within 25 yards of the bison, the Park Service said in a press release.
Yellowstone bison tears visitor up and throws her 10 feet, says park
As the woman approached the bison on the boardwalk west of the Old Faithful geyser, the animal attacked her.
“So the bison stabbed the woman and threw her ten feet into the air,” the Park Service said at the time.
The woman, who survived the attack, suffered a stab wound and other injuries and was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. It’s unclear if the two other people were injured within the 25-yard limit. That incident, like this week’s, also happened on a Monday morning.
According to the Park Service, bison, the largest mammals in North America, have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal. Bison are unpredictable and immensely strong, and while they can weigh as much as a ton and stand about six feet at the shoulder, bison can run up to 35 mph, which is “three times faster than humans,” the Park Service says. They can also jump vertically up to six feet “and can turn quickly to fight off predators,” according to the National Wildlife Federation.
Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times, according to the Department of the Interior. According to the Park Service, between 2,300 and 5,500 bison live in Yellowstone. The Yellowstone bison are considered special because “they are the pure descendants (without cattle genes) of early bison that roam our country’s grasslands,” Interior says.
Yellowstone officials have emphasized that visitors should give animals space when approaching campgrounds, trails, boardwalks, parking lots or built-up areas. Visitors should stay more than 25 feet from all large animals, such as bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, elk and coyotes, the Park Service says. It advises guests to stay at least 100 meters away from bears and wolves.
How travelers can stay safe during wildlife encounters
Wildlife attacks are rare, but dangerous encounters happen, especially when people ignore or are unaware of wildlife viewing rules and etiquette.
“Wild animals want to be left to their own devices,” Cameron Harsh, program director at the US office of World Animal Protection, an international nonprofit, told The Washington Post this month. “They don’t want to interact with humanity.”
Yellowstone recently reopened after severe flooding, damaged roads and bridges, causing the park to be closed for about a week this month.
The Park Service said Monday’s attack was the second in the past month “from a visitor getting too close to the animal and the bison responding to the perceived threat by stabbing the individual.” Park officials reiterated that visitors to Yellowstone should keep a safe distance.
“The wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is wild and can be dangerous if approached,” the Park Service said.
Andrea Sachs contributed to this report.