The National Park Service says the adult female grizzly bear was defending its cub.
A female grizzly bear acting in defense of its cub injured a 10-year-old boy in Yellowstone National Park on Thursday morning after the bear charged a family of four hikers from Washington state.
The boy ran away from the bear, which emerged from vegetation near the trail, officials said in a statement. The bear chased the boy and knocked him over.
The boy “suffered an injured wrist, puncture wounds to the back and wounds around the buttocks,” the statement says.
The family was able to drive off the animal using bear spray, officials report. Upon being sprayed, the bear shook its head and left.
The boy was taken to a clinic and transferred to a hospital in Big Sky, Montana.
Tracks indicate the grizzly bear was with at least one cub and was likely foraging next to the trail before the encounter, officials say. Since the incident was a surprise encounter and the bear was defending its cub, rangers do not plan on searching for the bear.
“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,” Pat Kenney, Yellowstone National Park deputy superintendent, is quoted in a statement.
“We wish their son a full recovery from his injuries.”
Officials say the entire park is a bear habitat and report there is an average of one bear attack per year in the park. However, this is the first incident reported since 2015.
Officials recommend hikers carry bear spray, stay alert, make noise and hike in groups of three or more. If charged by a bear, officials say you should stand your ground.
The attack happened on the Divide Trail, southeast of Old Faithful, officials say. The Divide and Spring Creek trails are currently closed so officials can search for recent bear activity.
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