Everyone loves spotting wild animals, but most animals don’t want to be approached. This is especially true of those protecting their young, who can easily interpret a human’s presence as a threat to their newborn’s safety. Just ask Charlene Triplett, who was attacked by a cow elk on Sunday, near a hotel in Yellowstone National Park.
An employee at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins, Triplett was off duty when she encountered the elk. Approximately 20 feet away from the hotel, the elk and its calf were hidden behind cars when Triplett approached, likely unaware of their presence. Triplett suffered multiple kicks to the head, torso, and back, and was flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Calving season, when calves are born, runs from late May to June, and since the incident, park rangers have been warning visitors about this specific elk. On their Facebook page, park representatives warned visitors to use extra caution during calving season, and to keep at least 75 feet away.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins has been in operation since 1936, giving guests incredible views of grazing elk. Hopefully these up-close views don’t start becoming personal.