Special Report filed by AAF Correspondent: Scott TingleyAnimal Attack Files Special Report
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Bison behavior

Sunday, October 15, 2000

Yellowstone National Park --Are the bison better behaved in Utah than they are in Yellowstone National Park?

No humans have been attacked by bison in Utah's Antelope Island State park since the area was opened to the public in 1969. In comparison, Yellowstone has recorded 81 incidents involving people and bison since 1978.

Yellowstone holds about 2,200 bison, while Antelope Island has 700, which are rounded up each year for inoculation.

The disparity in the number of bison attacks between the national park and Utah park doesn't appear to have anything to do with bison numbers or the annual roundups, said Marcia Karle, National Park Service spokeswoman at Yellowstone.

Karle suspects the number of bison attacks in Yellowstone has more to do with the behavior of a few park guests. Bison are not particularly aggressive unless they are pushed, she said.

At Yellowstone, because of the large number of international tourists who visit the park, it is difficult to communicate the dangers of approaching the bison they might see as tame like a cow, Karle said.

The rule of thumb with wildlife is that if your presence is making the animal move, then "you're too close," Karle said.

Associated Press

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