A Missouri woman was injured by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park on Monday morning.

The Yellowstone Office of Strategic Communications said the injuries incurred by an unnamed 37-year old woman from Columbia, Mo. took place on the Fairy Falls Trail near Old Faithful while hiking alone.

The Park reported she encountered two grizzly bears at a very close range, and was knocked down by a sow, sustaining a scratch on her thigh. When she fell to the ground she also sustained minor injuries to her face, Yellowstone reported.

“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."

The woman declined medical attention. It was noted she attempted to use bear spray.

Following the area, the Fairy Falls area, and several nearby trails were cleared of hikers and is still temporarily closed. 

This is the first bear-related incident of 2020. The last event that occurred was in June 2019 when a black bear bit into a woman's thigh in a tent.

The incident is still under investigation, Yellowstone reported. 

One can protect themselves from bears by:

  • Hiking in groups of three or more people
  • Carrying bear spray and knowing 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

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