Update: Yellowstone park officials confirm 10-year-old boy attacked by female grizzly bear

Yellowstone National Park officials have sent out some follow-up details on a story that developed last night about a 10-year-old boy who was attacked by a bear.

The boy, and his family of four were hiking on the Divide Trail, southeast of Old Faithful, when the bear attacked the boy knocking him to the ground.

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He sustained puncture wounds to the back and hurt his wrist.

Here’s the latest from Yellowstone park officials:

  • Law enforcement and bear management staff investigated the incident and determined that an adult female grizzly bear injured the 10-year-old boy from Washington.
  • Tracks observed by staff indicated the grizzly bear was with at least one cub-of-the-year or yearling bear.
  • The bears were likely foraging next to the trail when the encounter occurred.
  • Park rangers do not intend to search for the bear since this incident was a surprise encounter with a female grizzly bear defending its cub.
  • “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,” said Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney. “We wish their son a full recovery from his injuries.”
  • The Divide and Spring Creek trails remain temporarily closed. They will reopen after the trails have been inspected for recent bear activity.  
  • Around 10 a.m. Thursday, August 23, a family of four from Washington encountered a bear a half mile up the Divide Trail, southeast of Old Faithful.

  • The son, 10, ran away from the bear when it charged out of vegetation towards the family.

  • The bear chased the boy and knocked him to the ground.

  • The parents effectively deployed bear spray about five feet from the bear’s face. Thereafter, the bear shook its head and left the area.

  • After the incident, the family walked back to the trailhead, drove to the Old Faithful Ranger Station, and were directed to the nearby clinic.

  • The 10-year-old suffered an injured wrist, puncture wounds to the back and wounds around the buttocks. He was transferred to Big Sky Medical Center.

  • Law enforcement and bear management staff responded immediately to the area and are currently investigating the incident, including looking for sign that would identify the bear species.

  • The Spring Creek and Divide trails are temporarily closed.

  • All of Yellowstone National Park is bear habitat: from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful. Please prepare for bear encounters no matter where you go. Reduce your risk of a bear encounter by carrying bear spray. Be alert, make noise, hike in groups of three or more, do not run if you encounter a bear and stand your ground if charged by a bear. Learn more at go.nps.gov/yellbearsafety.

  • There has not been a reported bear attack in Yellowstone since 2015. On average, one bear attack per year occurs in the park.

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