Grizzly bear knocks down hiker near Yellowstone’s Old Faithful

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A female Grizzly bear exits Pelican Creek October 8, 2012 in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. It was established in 1872. Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park’s name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/GettyImage)

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – A female grizzly bear knocked down a woman who was hiking alone near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park Monday.

The 37-year-old park visitor, from Columbia, Missouri, suffered a minor injury, officials said in a news release.

She was walking along the Fairy Falls Trail when she “encountered two grizzly bears at very close range.” One of the bears, believed to be a female, sent the woman sprawling to the ground, leaving the hiker with a scratch on her thigh.

The woman attempted to use her bear spray during the incident, park officials stated.

“From the injured person’s statements, this appears to be a typical case of a mother grizzly bear protecting her offspring following a close-range encounter,” said bear management biologist Kerry Gunther. “Because this bear was displaying natural protective behavior for its cub, no action will be taken against the bear. Several trails in the area will be closed to give the grizzly family group time to clear from the area.”  

It’s the first incident of a bear injuring a Yellowstone visitor in 2020; the last injury happened in 2019 when a black bear bit into an occupied tent and bruised a woman’s thigh.

The park gave this guidance for visiting areas with bears:

  • Hike in groups of three or more
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it
  • Stay out of areas that are close for bear management
  • Don’t hike at dawn, dusk, or at night when grizzly bears are most active
  • If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal

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