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Grizzly bear attacks woman at Yellowstone

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WEST YELLOWSTONE, Montana — A grizzly bear attacked a woman visiting Yellowstone National Park on Monday morning.

The 37-year-old woman from Columbia, Missouri, was hiking alone on Fairy Falls Trail near the Old Faithful geyser, according to a Yellowstone National Park news release Wednesday. Two grizzly bears were in the area, and a female bear knocked her down.

The woman tried using bear spray and then notified others of the attack.

The park reports the woman received minor injuries to her face and a scratch on her thigh. She declined medical attention.

Park rangers then cleared the Fairy Falls Trail of hikers.

“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,” Bear Management Biologist Kerry Gunther said in the release. “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.”

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The Fairy Falls Trail and surrounding area is temporarily closed.

Yellowstone reports this is the first person injured by a bear in the park this year. A black bear bit into a tent in June 2019, leaving a woman with a bruised thigh.

Yellowstone National Park recommends visitors follow these recommendations:

  • Hike in groups of three or more people
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it
  • Be alert and make noise
  • Stay out of areas that are closed 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

Park officials remind people animals in Yellowstone are wild. They said if an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot or another area, give it space.

They said to stay at least 25 yards away from all large animals like bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes. They said to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

The Park Service is investigating the incident.

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