A 72-year-old California woman intent on getting the perfect photo inside Yellowstone National Park was gored by a bison after she repeatedly approached the giant animal, officials said.
The unidentified woman “sustained multiple goring wounds” and was treated by Yellowstone rangers before being flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for further care.
In a statement released by the National Park Service on Monday, officials said the 72-year-old came within 10 feet of the bison several times on Thursday. She was near her site at the Bridge Bay Campground in northwest Wyoming during the incident, which occurred just more than a month after the park reopened to guests amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“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 in the release.
“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.”
According to park rules, visitors should maintain at least 25 feet of distance between themselves and any large animals — like bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes — and at least 100 yards 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,” the Yellowstone Safety Guide reads.
Officials added it is a good time to remember that “wild animals are wild.”
Authorities said the incident remained under investigation.