YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Authorities have determined that an adult female grizzly bear with a cub injured a 10-year-old boy near Old Faithful on Thursday.
Park rangers said in a Friday news release they do not intend to search for the bear because it was a surprise encounter, and the grizzly acted to defend her cub.
Yellowstone National Park officials say a family of four from Washington encountered the bears a half-mile up the Divide Trail, southeast of Old Faithful, at around 10 a.m. The boy ran away from the bear when it charged out of vegetation toward the family. The bear chased the boy and knocked him to the ground.
Officials said that the parents effectively deployed bear spray about five feet from the bear’s face, causing the bear and her cub to leave the area. Following the incident, the family walked back to the trailhead, drove to the Old Faithful Ranger Station, and were directed to a nearby clinic.
The boy sustained an injured wrist, puncture wounds to the back, and wounds around the buttocks. He was transferred to the Big Sky Medical Center.
“This incident could have been more serious. We applaud the family for traveling in a group, carrying bear spray, and knowing how to effectively use it during their emergency,” Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney said in a press release. “We wish their son a full recovery from his injuries.”
Park officials said staff found tracks indicating the grizzly was with at least one cub-of-the-year or yearling bear foraging next to the trail.
Park officials said the Divide and Spring Creek trails would remain closed for a brief period as they continue investigating. They will reopen after they’ve been inspected for recent bear activity.