The incident happened near the Old Faithful Geyser area of the park in Wyoming, the National Park Service (NPS) said in a statement on Tuesday. The unnamed girl was standing a few metres from a bull bison when the animal turned and charged at her, according to the NPS. An adult bull bison can weigh up to 907 kilograms (one ton).
Video of the encounter shows the bison tossing the girl into the air. She can be seen tumbling head-over-heels before landing in the dirt.
The NPS says the girl was injured but did not describe the extent of her injuries. She was treated at Old Faithful Clinic and later released, CNN reports.
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The girl, who is from Florida, was in a group of approximately 50 people at the time of the attack. They’d been standing close to the bison for at least 20 minutes before the bull bison turned and charged, the NPS said.
Bystander Hailey Dayton recorded the video and posted it on Twitter Monday.
“My brother and I were looking at the hot springs, and we saw a bunch of people running down the path to the bridge,” she told NBC News on Wednesday. “We saw through the trees some people petting the bison, super close.”
She says she was trying to film the bison eating when it abruptly turned on the young girl.
“Because it was agitated by all the people and noise, it just kind of attacked,” she said. “After that, everyone was screaming. There were a bunch of kids crying.”
Dayton deleted the video off Twitter on Wednesday morning due to what she called the “abundance of cruel and inconsiderate comments” she was seeing about the girl.
“This was meant to show awareness of what can happen when not properly respecting the life you are around,” she tweeted.
No citations were issued in connection with the incident, the NPS said. Park officials are still investigating.