A bear attacked a 10-year-old boy in Yellowstone National Park on Thursday morning, according to a news release from the park.

A family of four from Washington was walking on the Divide Trail southeast of Old Faithful and encountered the bear.

The boy ran from the bear when it charged from vegetation, and the bear chased him and knocked him to the ground.

The parents effectively deployed bear spray about five feet from the bear, which shook its head and left the area.

The family then walked back to the trailhead, drove to the Old Faithful Ranger Station, and were directed to a nearby clinic.

The boy suffered an injured wrist, puncture wounds to the back and wounds around the buttocks. He was taken to the Big Sky Medical Center in Bozeman, Mont.

Law enforcement and bear management staff responded immediately to the area. They are investigating the incident, including looking for signs that would identify the bear species.

Authorities temporarily closed the Spring Creek and Divide trails.

Yellowstone National Park officials remind visitors that the entire park is bear habitat from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful and offer these suggestions:

  • Prepare for bear encounters no matter where you go.
  • Reduce your risk of a bear encounter by carrying bear spray.
  • Be alert and make noise.
  • Hike in groups of three or more.
  • Do not run if you encounter a bear, and stand your ground if charged by a bear.

Learn more about bears by visiting the park's website.

There has not been a reported bear attack in Yellowstone since 2015. On average, one bear attack per year occurs in the park.

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