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Skier bitten by coyote in Yellowstone National Park

The coyote, which officials suspect was starving, is being tested for rabies.
Credit: Steven Hunley

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Yellowstone National Park is urging people to use caution around wild animals after a woman was attacked and bitten by a coyote this week. 

The incident happened Tuesday morning while the 43-year-old woman was cross-country skiing on the Grand Loop Road near the South Rim Drive.

The skier suffered puncture wounds and lacerations to her head and her arm. she was taken to the Canyon Visitor Education Center, where rangers provided first-aid before transporting her to a medical facility for more treatment. 

Park staff were able to identify and kill the coyote that had bitten the skier. The animal is being necropsied and tested for rabies. 

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Although animal attacks are not common, Yellowstone officials are urging people to be careful around wildlife and always keep a safe distance.

“Encounters like these are rare, but they can happen. We suspect this coyote may have been starving due to having porcupine quills in its lower jaw and inside its mouth. Its young age likely led to its poor condition and irregular behavior,” said wildlife biologist Doug Smith.

Visitors to the park should never feed wild animals, and should make sure food, garbage, or other smelly items are carefully packed away when not in use. 

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