Mother grizzly knocks down Yellowstone hiker

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Fairy Falls trail

Visitors hike on the trail to Fairy Falls in Yellowstone National Park.

A 37-year-old Columbia, Missouri, woman received a minor scratch to her thigh after being knocked down by a protective mother grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park on Monday.

The woman was hiking alone on the Fairy Falls Trail near Old Faithful when she encountered two grizzly bears at close range, according to a park news release. The hiker attempted to use her bear spray.

“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.”

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When the visitor fell to the ground she also received minor injuries to her face but later declined medical attention.

This is the first incident of a bear injuring a visitor in Yellowstone in 2020. The last time a bear injured a visitor in the park was in June 2019, when a black bear bit into an occupied tent and bruised a woman’s thigh. Two black bears were killed by park officials last year following encounters with humans.

The Fairy Falls Trail is near the location where a Jackson, Wyoming, tourist videoed a young grizzly bear attempting to bring down a bison in May.

The incident prompted the park’s staff to remind visitors how to hike safely in bear country:

o Hike in groups of three or more people.

o Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

o Be alert and make noise.

o Stay out of areas that are closed for bear management.

o Don’t hike at dawn, dusk, or at night when grizzly bears are most active.

o If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal.

• Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay 25 yards (23 meters) away from all large animals — bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 meters) away from bears and wolves.