Bison tossing

Yellowstone National Park is reminding its visitors to keep their distance from bison in the aftermath of a 9-year-old Florida girl being launched into the air by an crowded bull.

A bison charged and injured a 9-year-old Florida girl after about 50 people crowded around the bull in the Old Faithful Geyser area.

Yellowstone National Park officials called Monday’s incident the first reported injury so far this summer from a human-bison conflict.

The park’s public affairs office reported that about 50 people mobbed the bull bison, some approaching within “5 to 10 feet” for at least 20 minutes. The crowded wild beast lost its cool, charged and tossed the young Odessa, Florida, girl into the air.

“The girl was taken to the Old Faithful Lodge by her family where she was assessed and treated by park emergency medical providers,” park officials said in a statement, “and later taken to and released from the Old Faithful Clinic.”

No citations have been issued, and the incident is still under investigation, the park reported.

Yellowstone regulations require visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from large animals like elk, bison and moose, and keep 100 yards distance from bears and wolves. Invariably, some of the park’s 4 million annual visitors disregard those rules. In June 2018, three Yellowstone visitors were injured by elk or bison in a span of four days.

To raise awareness about such hazardous behavior, the park is now encouraging people to take the “Yellowstone Pledge,” a commitment to being safe and responsible visitors who will set a good example for others.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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