U.S.

Yellowstone: 72-Year-Old Woman Head-Butted By Bison

An elderly visitor to Yellowstone National Park was headbutted by a bison and thrown off the the trail, the National Park Service said on Wednesday.

The incident is the first injury to a visitor from a bison in 2018. NPS said that there was one incident during the whole of 2017 and five in 2015.

Related: The bison didn’t stand a chance

72-year-old Virginia Junk was visiting the park on Tuesday May 1 when she turned a corner and came across the animal in the area of the Old Faithful geyser. According to the NPS, she did not see the animal and was unable to move out of the way before the bison rushed her.

She was butted in the thigh and pushed from the trail, NPS said. She was treated for minor injuries by the park’s rangers and transported to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho by ambulance.

NPS said that no citations were issued relating to the incident.

“Animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be,” the park service said. They recommend that visitors stay at least 25 yards from most animals, including bison, while leaving at least 100 yards between any bears and wolves visitors might across.

If need be, the park service said, people should just turn around rather than chancing an encounter.

GettyImages-532654262 A bison rests on a clearing at Yellowstone National Park on May 11, 2016. The National Park Service said that a 72-year-old woman was butted by a bison in the first such incident of 2018. MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

According to the park service, Yellowstone is the only place in America where bison “have lived continuously since prehistoric times”. Bison nearly went extinct in the US during the 1800s due to excessive hunting.

In 1902, the herd at Yellowstone was only around two dozen individuals, the NPS says. In August 2017 there were estimated to be nearly five thousand. 

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