Elk Attacks Woman in Yellowstone National Park

Katy Shipley | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article

A Yellowstone employee was attacked by a cow elk on Sunday, June 3, according to a National Park Service news release. Charlene Triplett, age 51, was kicked multiple times and received serious injuries. The elk reared up and hit her head, torso, and back. She was flown to the trauma center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

The attack took place behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. Rangers remained in the area to warn others about the elk and calf.  The elk was protecting a calf bedded down roughly 20 feet away and hidden by other cars.

“Use caution around elk, especially during calving season: always remain at least 25 yards away from these animals”- National Park Service

Yellowstone Bison
Park officials warn visitors to give animals 25 yards of space at all times. I don’t think surrounding a bison like a bunch of paparazzi is a good idea… Image: Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate

Animal attacks are not uncommon in National Parks.  Large animals are especially dangerous during breeding and calving season. Mother’s get extremely protective over their calves/cubs and are not to be approached, no matter how cute they are.

Things to Consider Next Time You Visit a National Park:

  • Give animals 25 yards of space at all times
  • Never approach a mother and her young
  • Never approach animals to take a picture
  • Stay on designated paths
  • Stay in your car during a wildlife jam

More often than not, it is the humans who instigate an attack.  The National Park Service cautions against feeding and taking pictures with wild animals.  While the animals have become accustomed the presence of humans, they are not domestic.

“Stop staring at your camera or phone, be aware of your surroundings, and know that Yellowstone’s wild animals are free to roam where they please.”-Yellowstone Park Officials

Yellowstone Boardwalk Bears
Animals are especially dangerous when protecting their young. No bear selfies, please. Image: National Park Service

The Safe Selfie Pledge was created due to an increase in visitors at Yellowstone National Park.  They hope to promote that the wildlife have the right of way and should be respected.  But real quick, let me take a #bearselfie!


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