Two people were injured by cow elk in Yellowstone during the first days of June. Both incidents occurred near Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
Charlene Triplett (51) of Las Vegas, Nevada, was attacked by a cow elk on June 3 behind the hotel. According to a Yellowstone National Park press release, the elk reared up and struck Triplett several times with its front legs on her head, torso and back.
A calf was bedded down roughly 20 feet from the incident and it’s not known if Triplett, who is an employee at the hotel, saw the calf or the cow prior to the encounter. Due to her injuries, she was flown to the trauma center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
On June 5, Penny Allyson Behr (53), from Cypress, Texas, was also attacked by a cow behind the hotel. She was walking between two cabins when she was surprised by an elk bedded near a cabin wall with a calf nearby.
Behr reportedly tried to back away but the elk pursued her and struck her in the head and torso with its legs. Behr was taken by ambulance to Livingston Memorial Hospital.
Rangers hazed the elk away from the cabins and continued to monitor the area. It’s not known if the same elk was involved in both incidents.
“It’s very common for cow elk to aggressively defend newborn calves and hide them near buildings and cars,” park officials said in a statement. “Be extra cautious anywhere elk and calves are present. Approach blind corners slowly and maintain a safe distance—at least 25 yards.”