An elk has attacked someone in Yellowstone National Park for the second time in three days – leaving one woman seriously injured.

Charlene Triplett was badly hurt after a startled elk reportedly reared up and kicked her multiple times with its front legs – hitting her in the head, torso and back.

The 51-year-old, who works at a nearby hotel, was flown to a nearby hospital after Sunday's incident, and it is believed the animal was protecting a calf that was bedded down about 6m (20ft) away.

Two days later, a woman from Texas was attacked in the same area as she walked between two cabins.

Penny Allyson Behr, 53, tried to back away after being surprised by the elk on Tuesday – but the animal pursued her and struck her in the head and torso.

It is not known if it is the same elk that attacked Ms Triplett.

Image: After the first incident, park rangers remained in the area to warn others

In a statement on the Yellowstone National Park's website, a spokesperson said: "It's very common for cow elk to aggressively defend newborn calves and hide them near buildings and cars.

"Be extra cautious anywhere elk and calves are present: approach blind corners slowly and maintain a safe distance (at least 25 yards)."

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After the first incident, park rangers remained in the area to warn others from approaching the elk.

Following the second attack, rangers frightened the elk away from the cabins and continue to monitor the area.

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