Yellowstone National Park is known for its breathtaking landscapes and its array of wildlife inhabitants, but one Australian man got a little bit too close for comfort out in nature.
An unnamed 62-year-old tourist had a harrowing encounter with a bison while visiting the park. Authorities said that the man was rushed to the hospital after being tossed three times in the air by the bison. He sustained serious injuries but survived.
Yellowstone officials reported that several people had crowded the bison as it quietly lay near a path from the famous site of Old Faithful geyser. Park officials said that the bison was already becoming agitated due to the people crowding near it and it attacked the man as he took photos from a few feet away.
A bison is unpredictable, dangerous, and capable of running three times faster than humans. They weight as much as a full-sized sedan.
This is the second incident of bison attack in a span of three weeks. A bison gored a 16-year-old Taiwanese girl last May 16 as she posed for a picture while visiting the Old Faithful area.
"The girl turned her back to the bison to have her picture taken when the bison lifted its head, took a couple of steps and gored her," Yellowstone National Park Service said in a statement.
Park officials advise visitors to strictly observe all signs and warnings placed around the park for their safety.
Other wild animals to watch out for while visiting Yellowstone National Park:
- Black bears and grizzly bears: more than 500 in population
- Wolves: there are about 13 wolf packs in the park
- Elk: about 15,000 in number
- Moose: over 400 living in Yellowstone
- Big Horn Sheep
- Mountain Lions
Safety Tips while visiting Yellowstone National Park:
1. Park official's advice that visitors observe and follow the signs that can be found all over the park grounds to ensure their safety, protection and enjoyment. These warning signs are not a suggestion and should be followed to the letter.
2. Follow guidelines set by the park officials on how close you can be to a wild animal. The park website states: "Please use roadside pullouts when viewing wildlife. Use binoculars or telephoto lenses for safe viewing and to avoid disturbing them. By being sensitive to its needs, you will see more of an animal's natural behavior and activity. If you cause an animal to move, you are too close!"
3. Do not approach any of the animals, no matter how docile they are. Needless to say: "Yellowstone wildlife is wild ... and should not be approached, no matter how tame or calm they appear."
4. Do not hike after dark and avoid disturbing carcasses you might find as wild animals tend to get protective of their food source and territory.
5. Be aware of speed limits while driving around the area as wild animals may go roaming the roads as well. Remember to use a roadside turnout and turn off your engine when you do encounter a wild animal in the middle of the road.
6. Talk quietly as not to startle of distress any of the animals you are observing.
7. Be aware of your surroundings and the items you leave behind so as not to attract the attention of the animals or provoke an attack.
8. If you are with a tour group, listen carefully and obey all instructions of your tour guide. Never stray away from the group or the tour leader.
9. Keep all food and beverage tightly sealed, this prevents animals from smelling the odor and getting curious enough to approach you.
10. Respect the animal's habitat and their nature. Read and know about the animals you will be observing to have a better understanding of their characteristic and nature.
Barb Ignatius | Flickr
Steve Jurvetson | Flickr