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Bison gores 83-year-old woman in Yellowstone National Park

An 83-year-old woman was seriously injured when she was gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park over the weekend, the park said Monday.

The park said the bison was “defending its space” when it gored the South Carolina woman near the Storm Point Trail, which is located at the north end of Yellowstone Lake. The bison “came within a few feet of the woman and lifted her about a foot off the ground with its horns,” the park said.

Emergency staff first took the woman to the nearby Lake Medical Clinic for treatment before she was airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Yellowstone said. The park did not have any specific information about her injuries or her condition as of Monday night.

The woman was not immediately identified.

The park noted more people have been injured by bison at Yellowstone than by any other animal. The park also said it is visitors’ responsibility to keep their distance from wild animals, including staying at least 25 yards away from large animals like bison and 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

“Bison are not aggressive animals but will defend their space when threatened. They are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans,” the park warned.

In April, an Idaho man suffered minor injuries when he was attacked by a bison in Yellowstone after he allegedly kicked it. He was later charged with being under the influence of alcohol, disorderly conduct, approaching wildlife and disturbing wildlife, the park said.

Last year, a 47-year-old woman was gored by a bison not far from where this most recent incident took place. In 2022, a 25-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man were gored by bison near Old Faithful within weeks of each other. A 71-year-old tourist from Pennsylvania was also attacked by a bison in June 2022.

Bison are the largest mammals in North America, according to the Department of the Interior, and males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Their mating season is from mid-July to mid-August, during which they can become agitated more quickly than at other times of the year, according to park officials.

Tens of millions of bison once roamed North America, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but they were driven nearly to extinction during the United States’ westward expansion in the 19th century. Their numbers at one point dwindled to just a few hundred.

As of last August, there were about 420,000 bison in commercial herds, according to USFWS, and another 20,500 in conservation herds in the U.S.

— Aliza Chasan and Adam Yamaguchi contributed reporting.

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