How many times do people need to be told not to touch wild animals before they’ll listen?
The season for visiting national parks is just beginning, but we’re already getting reports of tourists not following the rules and causing problems for wildlife.
According to the National Parks Service, an unidentified man was seen trying to assist a bison calf that had been separated from the herd while crossing a river in Yellowstone National Park. The man apparently went down to the stranded calf with intentions to help, pushing him out of the water and onto the roadway where the herd had passed through.
The calf was then very confused and was spotted approaching numerous vehicles and people throughout the rest of the day.
Park rangers made multiple attempts to reunite the calf with its mother and the rest of the herd, but all of them failed and the calf was rejected, possibly to the scent of human lingering on it.
Sadly, rangers made the tough decision to euthanize the calf, as it was causing potentially dangerous situations on roadways.
The NPS gave the following justification for not moving the calf to a wildlife sanctuary.
“Federal and state regulations prohibit the transport of bison out of Yellowstone unless those bison are going to a meat processing or scientific research facility.
We now have a quarantine facility so bison can go through the months-long testing protocols for brucellosis and, if negative, be used to start conservation herds elsewhere. However, the use of quarantine for a newborn calf that’s abandoned and unable to care for itself is not a good candidate for quarantine.
We made the choice we did because national parks preserve natural processes… Every day in national parks, some animals die so that others may live. Unfortunately, the calf’s behavior on the roads and around people was hazardous, so rangers had to intervene: but the calf’s body was left on the landscape.”
Listen, I get that the man just wanted to help…
You see an animal stuck and your heart immediately goes out for it but rules are put in place for a reason. It’s possible the calf would have found its own way back to the herd and gone on to live a long and happy life. Unfortunately, it will no longer have that chance.
NPS is asking the public for any information related to the incident and help identifying the man, who was in his 40’s-50’s, wearing a blue shirt and black pants. They have not stated whether he could be potential facing charges for his actions.
Let this be a lesson to us all.