- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 24, 2020

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - A Missouri tourist was knocked to the ground by a grizzly bear and suffered minor injuries as she was hiking near Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful geyser, park administrators said Wednesday.

The 37-year-old tourist from Columbia, Missouri was hiking alone Monday morning along the Fairy Falls Trail when she came upon a pair of grizzly bears. One of the bears knocked the woman to the ground, scratching her thigh and causing minor injuries to her face when she fell, officials said.

She declined medical attention and the surrounding area has been temporarily closed, according to park officials.

Based on the woman’s description of the encounter, park officials determined it was a mother bear displaying a natural desire to protect her offspring in a close-range encounter. No actions against the animals are planned, park bear biologist Kerry Gunther said in a statement.

The woman had bear spray - a type of pepper spray used to ward off bears - and attempted to use it during the encounter, said park spokeswoman Morgan Warthin.

Encounters between grizzly bears and humans at the park are rare but can be fatal. The last person to be injured by a bear at the park was last summer, when a black bear bit into a camper’s tent and bruised a woman’s thigh.

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