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Bison gores woman at Yellowstone National Park

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A 47-year-old woman gored by a bison at Yellowstone National Park on Monday morning suffered significant injuries to her chest and abdomen, officials said. 

The Phoenix woman was with another person on the north shore of Lake Yellowstone near the Lake Lodge Cabins when they spotted two bison, the National Park Service said. They turned and walked away, but one of the bison charged and gored the woman. 

The woman was airlifted to a medical center for treatment. 

Officials don't know how close she was to the bison before the attack, but they said that bison are unpredictable and can run three times faster than humans. Yellowstone National Park requires all visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from most wildlife, including bison, elk and deer.

"Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild and can be dangerous when approached," the Park Service said in a press release. "When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space."

Mid-July through the middle of August is mating season for bison, officials said. Bison can become agitated more quickly than usual during this time period. 

Monday's attack is the first such incident in 2023, but several visitors to the park were gored by bison last year. 

A 25-year-old woman was gored and tossed into the air north of Old Faithful in May of 2022. Several weeks later, a 34-year-old man was walking with his family on a boardwalk near Giant Geyser at Old Faithful when a bison gored him. A 71-year-old tourist from Pennsylvania was also attacked by a bison in June of last year.

Bison are the largest mammal in North America, according to the Department of Interior. Male bison, called bulls, weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand 6 feet tall. Females, called cows, weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach a height of 4-5 feet. Yellowstone is the only place in the U.S. where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times.

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