The woman repeatedly got within 10 feet of the animal, park officials said.
Yellowstone park rangers are investigating an incident that left an elderly California woman hospitalized last week with “multiple goring wounds,” according to a news release Monday.
According to officials, the 72-year-old woman “repeatedly approached” a bison within 10 feet to take its photo near her campsite at Bridge Bay Campground last week.
The woman’s condition remains unknown, although park rangers provided “immediate medical care” before she was helicoptered to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
“The series of events that led to the goring suggest the bison was threatened by being repeatedly approached to within 10 feet,” Yellowstone’s Senior Bison Biologist Chris Geremia said. “Bison are wild animals that respond to threats by displaying aggressive behaviors like pawing the ground, snorting, bobbing their head, bellowing, and raising their tail. If that doesn’t make the threat (in this instance it was a person) move away, a threatened bison may charge. To be safe around bison, stay at least 25 yards away, move away if they approach, and run away or find cover if they charge.”
The encounter comes a month after another woman was knocked to the ground by a bison near Old Faithful after she approached within 25 yards. Park rules warn visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from large animals like bison, elk, and moose, and at least 100 yards from big predators like bears and wolves.