Woman Attacked by Grizzly Bear in Yellowstone’s First Bear Attack of 2020

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Grizzly Bear, Image: Wikipedia

On the morning of June 22, 2020, a woman, age 37, from Columbia, Missouri, sustained a minor injury from a protective mother grizzly bear while hiking on the Fairy Falls Trail near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, WY.

The woman was hiking alone when she encountered two grizzly bears at very close range. The female bear knocked the woman down, and she sustained a scratch on her thigh. When she fell to the ground, she also received minor injuries to her face. She was carrying bear spray which she attempted to use.

Following the incident, the Fairy Falls Trail was cleared of hikers, with the trail and the surrounding area being temporarily closed.  

“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. 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.”

– Kerry Gunther, bear management biologist

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.

old faithful, geyser, Yellowstone, Wyoming
Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Protect yourself and bears while you hike in bear country:

  • 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

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

The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), also known as the North American brown bear or simply grizzly, is a large population or subspecies of the brown bear inhabiting North America.

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