In the last three days, two people have been seriously injured by an elk. There have been three reported wildlife encounters in Yellowstone National Park this year.
Springtime is when animals are giving birth and protecting their young. Jake Frank, a spokesperson for Yellowstone National Park, said that means everyone, park employees and visitors included, need to be extra cautious. He said to be cautious of animals, particularly cow elk.
“Their natural defense mechanism is to camouflage themselves. And when the moms go out and eat, they’ll basically hide their young. So, you can walk out of a building and walk right next to a calf and have no idea it's there. And then all of the sudden there is a cow elk on top of you,” Frank said.
He said a lot of animals are habituated to people but that doesn’t make them any less threatening.
“99 out of 100 times you can walk by an elk or bison from a safe distance, it doesn't even look at you. But then you’re that hundredth person that walked by and that animal is tired of having people invade its space and decides to get up and charge you,” Frank said.
He said visitors should always remain at least 25 yards away from any animal and 100 yards from bears and wolves and remember that you’re sharing the landscape with the wild.