A cow elk attacked and seriously injured a woman behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on Sunday.
The elk was protecting a calf — bedded down roughly 20 feet away and hidden by other cars — when it attacked 51-year-old Charlene Triplett, according to a Monday news release from the National Park Service.
“It’s not known if Ms. Triplett saw the calf or the elk prior to the encounter,” the Park Service said.
The elk reportedly reared up and kicked Triplett multiple times with its front legs, hitting her head, torso and back.
Due to the severity of her injuries, Triplett was flown to the trauma center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Triplett, of Las Vegas, is an employee at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, and was off-duty at the time of the incident.
Rangers remained in the area to warn others about the elk and calf. No citations were issued.
The Park Service reminded visitors to use caution around elk, especially during calving season, and to always remain at least 25 yards away from elk.