For the second time in three days, an incident between a cow elk protecting her young at Mammoth Hot Springs and a Yellowstone visitor landed someone in the hospital.
Penny Allyson Behr, age 53, from Cypress, Texas was attacked by a cow elk behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on the morning of Tuesday, June 5. Behr was walking between two cabins when she was surprised by an elk bedded along the cabin wall with a calf nearby. She attempted to back away but the elk pursued and struck her with its legs in the head and torso.
Behr was taken by ambulance to Livingston Memorial Hospital. It would seem to be less serious than Monday’s incident, where Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel employee was flown to the trauma center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center due to the extent of her injuries.
On June 3, a Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel employee was seriously injured after an encounter with a cow elk behind the hotel. According to Yellowstone National Park officials, the elk was protecting a calf bedded down roughly 20 feet away and hidden by other cars. It’s not known if Triplett saw the calf or the elk prior to the encounter.
Though the attacks were in the same area, it’s not known if it’s the same cow elk involved. In any case, the cow elk involved in today’s incident was hazed away from the cabins by rangers. Since the incident was classified as accidental, no citation was issued.
Yellowstone officials warn it’s very common for cow elk to aggressively defend newborn calves and hide them near buildings and cars. Be extra cautious anywhere elk and calves are present: approach blind corners slowly and maintain a safe distance (at least 25 yards). That’s especially true at Mammoth Hot Springs, where elk gather: these are not tame pets.
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