PHOTO: Yellowstone Bison

A recent bison attack on a young girl in Yellowstone National Park has reinvigorated warnings about the importance of keeping an appropriate distance when viewing wildlife in the park.

Yellowstone National Park has attempted to curb the amount of tourists injured by wildlife by developing education outreach campaigns, handing out fliers at park entrances and displaying signs with information on proper viewing distances.

According to Yellowstone National Park, the regulated viewing distance for bears and wolves is 100 yards. The regulated viewing distance for other wildlife is around 25 yards. The park says the distances are intended to protect people and preserve natural habitats.

The Yellowstone National Park visitor center has an exhibit that displays videos of bison encounters. Despite the campaigns and regulations, the park says visitors continue to sustain injuries from approaching bison.

Between the years of 2000 and 2015, 25 people were injured by bison in Yellowstone National Park. The total includes 21 visitors and four staff.

According to a study on bison attacks released in December 2018, the median number of attack in the 15 year period was one per year.

Most of the attacks happened during the parks peak visitation season, between April and October.

Of the 21 people injured in bison attacks, the study says 20 people, or 80 percent of the total, actively approached a bison.

  • Five people, 20 percent of the total, were attacked after failing to retreat when a bison began to charge
  • Around 12 people, 48 percent of the total, were attacked while attempting to take photos of bison

Most recently, at least two people were attacked by a bison in Yellowstone National Park in 2018.

A man appearing to be under the influence of alcohol was sentenced to 130 days in jail last year for taunting a bison on a highway in the park.

Tuesday, a 9-year-old girl was the first recorded bison attack of 2019.