Woman Attacked by Bison at Reopened Yellowstone National Park

Just two days after Yellowstone National Park reopened, a wild bison attacked a female visitor. The woman got too close to the wild animal and needed to be treated for her injuries. The historic national park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic but has since been reopened for visitors as Wyoming continues its phased reopening.

The bison attacked the woman on Wednesday afternoon, the National Park Service reported. The woman, whose name was not released, came within 25 yards of the bison, which was closer than suggested. The park emergency medical service immediately responded to the scene to treat the woman there. She "refused" to be taken to a nearby medical facility. It was the first reported incident of a bison injury this year.

"Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild," the National Park Service added. "When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity."

Yellowstone began its phased reopening on May 18 after shutting down for all visitors on March 24. The three-phased plan starts with the opening of the South and East entrances in Wyoming, which will keep visitors in the lower loop. This includes access to Lake, Canton, Norris, Old Faithful, Grant Village and West Thumb. While Wyoming lifted out-of-state travel restrictions, Idaho and Montana still have theirs in place. Visitors will also have to follow CDC and local health guidance, including social distancing and good hygiene. Face coverings are also recommended.

"The park's goal is to open safely and conservatively, ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitors, and help local economies begin to recover," Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement on May 13. "I appreciate the cooperation we've had with our surrounding governors, counties, communities, and health officials in working through these challenging decisions. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible." Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon also praised the phased plan, saying it will give officials "useful experience as we look ahead to opening other areas of the park, provide a boost to Wyoming's tourism industry, and help get America's economy up and going again."