Woman dies after being attacked by grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park

Woman dies after being attacked by grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park

A woman was found dead on a hiking trail in Montana on Saturday after she came into contact with a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a statement that the woman, who has not been named, was found dead near the Montana town of West Yellowstone, located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest just west of the famous national park.

They said investigators had grizzly bear tracks at the scene after the woman was found ‘after an apparent bear encounter’.

The department said an investigation into the grizzly attack is the latest attack by wild animals this summer.

Rangers have issued an emergency closure of the area where the woman was found, which is popular with hikers.

An unidentified woman was found dead after being exposed to a grizzly bear in Montana on Saturday (file photo).

The attack happened on a trail in Montana just west of Yellowstone National Park

Although the department’s statement said the death appeared to follow the woman’s interaction with the bear, it has not officially confirmed her cause of death.

The attack comes amid an increase in Montana’s grizzly bear population and an increase in sightings.

The department issued a news release last week warning visitors that workers have confirmed grizzly bear sightings across the state, ‘particularly in areas between the northern continental divide and the Great Yellowstone Ecosystem.’

Officials urged camping and park visitors to carry bear spray, store their food while outdoors and dispose of their trash properly.

Amber Harris and her now-fiancé Chris Whitehill had a romantic, nature-filled vacation interrupted on their first day in Yellowstone when Harris was attacked by a bison.

Last week, 47-year-old Amber Harris was mauled by a bison while hiking in Yellowstone, causing seven spinal fractures.

He suffered ‘significant injuries to his chest and abdomen’, including a fractured spine and two collapsed lungs.

The attack derails plans to propose to her fiancé on a trip, instead forcing her to pop the question while lying in a hospital bed.

‘So my love got down on one knee at my hospital bed last night and officially asked me to be his wife. Without hesitation I said ‘Yes!’

The attack was the second in a few days at a national park, as a woman was attacked by a bison earlier in a North Dakota park.

Harris updated friends and family with a Facebook post from his hospital bed, where he shared two notable updates.

‘We have been planning this vacation to Yellowstone NP for almost a year. So excited to spend quality time with Chris Whitehill and my daughter Riley Ekblad. We woke up on our first morning and went down to the lodge for some coffee then decided to walk through a field to get to Yellowstone Lake,’ Harris wrote.

Harris posted a photo of her hand sporting a new ring, as well as updates on her whirlwind and engagement

‘There were a few other people and about 20 elk roaming around so we waited for them to clear before walking through the field. About halfway to the water we spotted 2 bison. 1 way we were walking and the other in the opposite direction.

‘We stopped and looked at the huge beast, about 50 yards down the trail, at first hiding in the shadow of the trace. We saw him fall into the dirt like a dog. He got to his feet and started walking then ran towards us.

‘I was taken from the field on a stretcher to an ambulance and then transferred to a helicopter for a life flight to Idaho. Pain meds, CT’s, MRI’s and I suffered seven fractured vertebrae, collapsed bilateral lungs and bruises all over the place. Glory to God all my vitals are looking good,’ she wrote.

Harris revealed that her boyfriend, Chris, planned to propose to her on their outdoor vacation.

When that plan was thrown for a loop, Harris said Chris made a phone call and asked her to marry him in his hospital room. She posted the update alongside a photo of her sporting a new ring on her hand.

‘Chris had planned a beautiful wedding proposal on a natural bridge this week but all three of us have been in hospital since yesterday morning and I won’t be leaving anytime soon,’ she said.

The attack comes days after a Minnesota woman, whose name has not been released, was killed while visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota last weekend. He suffered injuries to his stomach and legs.

The unnamed woman was taken to a Fargo hospital, where she was listed in serious but stable condition

A video shows another woman taking a selfie just inches away from the giant animal in Yellowstone National Park.

A man was filmed carrying a bison calf up from the banks of the Lamar River on May 20. It was later dropped when his flock rejected it Yellowstone National Park officials are now trying to identify the man

How to stay safe around bison

When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or a developed area, give it space.

Stay 25 yards (23 meters) away from all large animals and at least 100 yards (91 meters) away from bears and wolves.

If necessary, turn around and find another route.

Different types of bear encounters are advised differently.

During mating season from mid-July to mid-August, bison can become agitated quickly.

Be extra careful and give them extra space through the summer.

Bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans.

Source: National Park Service

The first attack remains under investigation as the exact details remain unknown. Park Superintendent Angie Richman did not immediately respond to an email requesting information.

Park officials reminded visitors that bison are big, strong and wild and can quickly and easily outrun humans.

Bulls can be aggressive from mid-July to August. Park regulations require visitors to stay at least 25 yards from large animals.

The National Park Service offers a complete guide to protecting yourself from animals while visiting.

Last week’s attack was the first known bison attack on a person in Yellowstone in more than a year. Bison injured two people in the park in 2022.

In May 2023, Yellowstone tourists were shot away from a dangerous encounter with bison after they tried to pet them.

A video, posted by ‘TouronsOfYellowstone’, and credited to Russ Bjorn on Instagram, shows a woman reaching out her hand in an attempt to touch the bison.

The bison looked ready to pounce.

When other members of the group screamed, the woman panicked and jumped again. The animal showed kindness, not reaction.

When a bison shakes its head, paws, shakes or shakes, it may be warning that a person is too close and a charge is imminent.

In 2015, Yellowstone National Park officials released a graphic pamphlet depicting a bison being killed by a bison for tourists to avoid the animals.

In 2021, a 25-year-old Yellowstone tourist was jailed for four days after coming within yards of a grizzly bear and her cubs to take a photo.

In the summer of 2018, a man who was seen on video trying to grope, harass and prank bison in Yellowstone National Park was also arrested.

Sometimes animals will attack unprovoked.

Last summer, three bison were attacked in Yellowstone in just four weeks. A 71-year-old Pennsylvania woman was injured when she and her daughter were returning to their car at the trailhead when the animal attacked her.

In 2015, Yellowstone National Park officials released a graphic pamphlet depicting a bison being killed by a bison for tourists to avoid the animals.

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