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Watch for Wildlife: 2018 Wildlife Attacks at Yellowstone

Every summer, tourists to Yellowstone get themselves in trouble with the wildlife. The summer of 2018 was no different. Here is a brief look at some of the trouble tourists managed to get themselves into with Yellowstone’s wildlife this summer.

Surprise Bison

The summer season for wildlife injuries got an early start in May. On May 1, a woman suffered minor injuries when she turned a corner in a trail and found herself on the wrong end of a head butt from a bison.

Avoid the Elk

Even though people think the bears of Yellowstone are the animals who usually attack, more often the animals that attack are the park’s large herbivores. On June 3, an elk protecting her calf attacked an off-duty park employee. Even though they seem placid, the employee suffered injuries serious enough to require her to be flown to a trauma center.

Two days later, another elk attacked a park visitor who surprised the animal, which, like the elk in the previous incident, was protecting a calf. Although she suffered injuries serious enough to require a trip to the hospital, the visitor was not as badly injured as the park employee.

A Gore-y Day

On June 6, a bison charged a group of people on a boardwalk in the Lower Geyser Basin after some of them came within 15 feet of the animal. The bison did not take kindly to the visitors, to say the least. A woman in the group suffered a hip injury when the bison gored her. As for the bison, it immediately left the area.

Road Closed

In early-July, a bison charged a construction worker at the park. The bison knocked the construction worker to the ground, and he was later taken to a medical clinic for treatment. Do you get worker’s compensation for that sort of an injury?

Bear-y Bad

The last bear attack recorded inside Yellowstone until this summer had been in 2015. That streak came to an end on August 23, when a bear charged a group of hikers near Old Faithful. The bear chased one of the hikers – a 10-year old boy – and was chased off when the boy’s parents sprayed him with bear spray.

Saving the Strangest for Last

Sometimes, one person can manage to cause plenty of trouble. Over the course of visits to several national parks, one man managed to get caught on video harassing a bison at Yellowstone – after having been arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct at Grand Teton National Park and later causing a disturbance at Glacier National Park. Unsurprisingly, alcohol may have been a factor in all of the incidents.


Learn more about Yellowstone National Park in 101 Travel Bits: Yellowstone National Park.

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