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Yellowstone Calls Out Park Visitor For 'Disturbing' Bison Calf And Leading To Its Death

Yellowstone National Park reminded visitors to 'respect' wildlife at the park after a man tried to help a newborn bison calf who was ultimately rejected by its herd and had to be euthanized.

Yellowstone Calls Out Park Visitor For 'Disturbing' Bison Calf And Leading To Its Death
Hellen Jack

Bison as with all wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. Visitors shouldn't touch them, yet every year people do which results in injury or death for people or animals.

Park regulations require visitors stay at least 25 yards (75 feet) from all wildlife except bears and wolves which require a minimum of 100 yards (300 feet) distance be maintained.

Unfortunately an as yet unidentified man decided to ignore park regulations, resulting in the eventual euthanizing of a newborn bison calf.

Despite bison surviving for millennia in North America without human intervention, the man decided a newborn bison calf needed his help.

Yellowstone National Park reported:

"An unidentified White male in his 40-50's, wearing a blue shirt and black pants, approached a newborn bison calf in Lamar Valley near the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek."
"...the man pushed the calf up from the river and onto the roadway. Visitors later observed the calf walk up to and follow cars and people."

While the calf's original situation might have resulted in its death, the man's choice to interfere ensured its demise.

Every year the wildlife in national parks are born, live and die without tourists' help. The animals that die become food for predators and scavengers.

It's a fact of life that tourists should recognize and respect—or limit their interactions with wildlife to zoos.

The National Park Service stated:

"Interference by people can cause wildlife to reject their offspring. In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd. These efforts failed."
"The calf was later killed by park staff because it was abandoned by the herd and causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway."

The NPS continued:

"Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival."
"Disregarding these regulations can result in fines, injury, and even death."
"The safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules."

Some recognized the man ignored park regulations, dooming the calf.

But online armchair park rangers demonstrated why NPS has to rescue tourists and euthanize wildlife unnecessarily.

They, of course, knew more than wildlife and conservation professionals.

Other uninformed experts questioned why the NPS couldn't fix the man's mistake by sending a newborn calf to a nonexistent rescue.

But farmers and ranchers pushed passage of strict regulations for moving bison out of Yellowstone.

NPS informed those ignorant of the laws they're required to abide by.

One person—who did the reading—recommended the laws be rewritten.

However a change in law doesn't negate the viability issues of a newborn animal or the expense of transport and care.

Large animal rescue and rehabilitation organizations are rare because of the logistics and expense.

A sad event all around.

Yellowstone National Park said the incident is currently under investigation and asked that anyone with information on the visitor who disturbed the calf call the Yellowstone National Park Tip Line at 307-344-2132 or email them at