2 people attacked by elk in 3 days at Yellowstone National Park

PHOTO: Male Elk is pictured in Yellowstone National Park, May 15, 2012.PlayEye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images
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Two people have been injured by cow elk in the past three days at Yellowstone National Park.

Charlene Triplett, 51, an employee at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, was the first person to be attacked on Sunday. The elk was protecting a calf about 20 feet away, hidden by cars.

Triplett may not have seen the calf or the elk before it reportedly kicked her multiple times, hitting her head, torso and back. She was flown to the trauma center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center to be treated for her severe injuries.

Two days later, on Tuesday morning, Penny Allyson Behr, from Cypress, Texas, was walking between two cabins at the hotel when she was surprised by an elk along the wall with a calf nearby. The 53-year-old tried to back away but the elk pursued her and struck her in the head and torso. She was taken by ambulance to Livingston Memorial Hospital.

Park experts say it's common for cow elk to defend their newborns and hide them near buildings or cars. Rangers have since hazed the elk away from the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel cabins and are monitoring the area for more elk.

It's unknown if the same elk was involved in both attacks.