A Taiwanese exchange student visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming with her host family was gored by a bison while turning to have her picture taken, the National Park Service said Saturday.
The 16-year-old girl, whose name was not released, was hiking near the Old Faithful Geyser when the family stopped to look at bison grazing near the trail, the park service said.
The group was just three to six feet away from the animals, the park service said, and when the girl turned her back on the bison to have her picture taken, one of them attacked, goring her in the buttocks with a horn, said spokeswoman Traci Weaver.
The girl was treated at the park’s Old Faithful clinic and then airlifted to a hospital, the park service said in a news release about the incident. Her injuries were not life-threatening.
Weaver said the group was far too close to the bison.
“They were photographing this animal so very close where the bison was standing,” Weaver said in a telephone interview. “The bison reacted the way any wild animal would.”
She said visitors to the park should always stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards away from other large animals including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, moose and coyotes.
“Bison can sprint three times faster than humans can run and are unpredictable and dangerous,” the park service said in its press release.