Bison Attacks on the Rise in Yellowstone

An increase in bison attacks leads Yellowstone National Park to reconsider tourist wildlife education.
 Photo by: Yellowstone National Park/ Flickr

Photo by: Yellowstone National Park/ Flickr

In a typical year, Yellowstone National Park has one or two bison attacks. In the past two months, there have been four.

The latest was on July 2, when a 68-year-old woman from Georgia was injured after she decided to hike past a bison grazing on Storm Point Trail. The National Park Service urges hikers to turn around and alter their plans if they encounter an animal less than 25 yards from the trail.

Visitation at Yellowstone has increased by 25% this year, which park officials believe partially led to the increase in animal encounters. And as the park heads into its busiest summer season, wildlife education is a priority.

In June, the park started handing out pamphlets with wildlife etiquette information urging all visitors to stay 25 yards away from bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes, and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. (Find more tips on how to safely view wildlife on the Yellowstone website).

Social media may also have played a part in the increase of attacks. Two of the four incidents resulted from visitors attempting to take selfies with bison less than 5 feet away. No amount of likes is worth that.

For more information about the specific attacks, visit the National Park Services Website.