A man hiking in Yellowstone National Park encountered a female wolf outside a den and sprayed the animal with pepper spray before fleeing the scene.
Yellowstone Park employees confirmed Tuesday that the man, whose name was not released, encountered a female wolf in the Hayden Valley.
While park officials continue to investigate the incident, a spokesman said Tuesday that the man was hiking when he came across the wolf outside a den.
“There was no wolf attack,” park spokesman Al Nash said. “However, a visitor apparently had some sort of encounter with a wolf. The wolf did not attack him. He was not injured by a wolf.”
The wolf allegedly gave a warning bark, which the man interpreted as a growl. He sprayed the wolf with pepper spray — a deterrent most often used in bear encounters. The hiker heard the wolf yipping as a result of the spray as he fled.
Park officials said the man jumped into the Yellowstone River, believing the wolf might pursue him. He apparently lost his backpack as he was washed downriver and was treated by park rangers for hypothermia.