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Sunday, August 2, 2015

woman injured trying to get Selfie with bison at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Granton in 1872.  Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years.  In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year.

Yellowstone National Park is named after the Yellowstone River, the major river running through the park. According to French-Canadian trappers in the 1800s, they asked the name of the river from the Minnetaree tribe, who live in what is now eastern Montana. They responded "Mitse a-da-zi," which literally translates as "Rock Yellow River."  It spreads over 3,472 square miles (8,987 km2).  It has many many species of wildlife.  Yellowstone is in the top five national parks for number of recreational visitors.

National parks are administered by the Department of the Interior and national forests by the Department of Agriculture. Yellowstone is a wilderness filled with natural wonders that are also potential hazards. There is no guarantee of your safety. Regulations are strictly enforced to protect you and the park's resources.  The safety instruction on wildlife reads :

Do not approach wildlife, no matter how tame or calm they appear. Always obey instructions from park staff on scene. You must stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes. Do not feed any animals. It harms them and it is illegal.Bison can sprint three times faster than humans can run; they  are unpredictable and dangerous.Every year visitors are gored and some have been killed.  Bears are dangerous; Wolves are not normally a danger to humans, unless humans habituate them by providing them with food. No wolf has attacked a human in Yellowstone, but a few attacks have occurred in other places.Treat wolves with the same respect you give any other wild animal. If you see a wolf, do not approach it.Coyotes quickly learn bad habits like roadside begging. This may lead to aggressive behaviour toward humans. Never approach or feed a begging coyote.

There are more ….. this post is more about a 43-year-old woman from Mississippi who received minor injuries who did not care for safety rules, turned her back on a bison to get a photo with it near the Fairy Falls trailhead in Yellowstone National Park. This is the fifth person injured after approaching bison this season.

Reports state that the woman and her daughter were by the trailhead sign when they decided to take a picture with a bison that was approximately 6 yards away from them near the trail. When they turned their backs to the bison to take the picture, someone warned that they were too close. They heard the bison’s footsteps moving toward them and started to run, but the bison caught the mother on the right side, lifted her up and tossed her with its head. The woman’s father covered her with his body to protect her and the bison moved about 3 yards away. The family drove to the  nearby Clinic, where the woman was treated and released with minor injuries.

“The family said they read the warnings in both the park literature and the signage, but saw other people close to the bison, so they thought it would be OK,” said Colleen Rawlings, Old Faithful District Ranger. “People need to recognize that Yellowstone wildlife is wild, even though they seem docile. This woman was lucky that her injuries were not more severe.”

Wildlife should not be approached, regardless of how tame or calm they appear. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, visitors must give it a wide berth and not approach it closer than the required minimum distances: 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves.

Bison can run three times faster than humans can sprint and are unpredictable and dangerous.  It is the humans who are at fault most times….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th July 2015.


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