Back on May 20th, Clifford Walters of Hawaii, approached anewborn bison calf that was visibly struggling in Yellowstone National Park in the Lamar Valley near the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.
The calf was separated from its mother when the herd made its way across the Lamar River, so Walters pushed the calf up from the river and towards the roadway, where it began to follow cars and people.
Park rangers tried numerous times to reunite the calf with the herd, but ultimately weren’t able to do so, so the calf had to be euthanized because it was abandoned, and presented a hazardous situation for approaching vehicles and people.
With that being said, Walters has now pleaded guilty to one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing the wildlife on May 31st, according to justice.gov.
He was charged a $500 fine, $500 in community service payments to Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund, a $30 special assessment, and a $10 processing fee.
This is just further proof that you should keep your distance from the wildlife in national parks, regardless if your intentions are good or not.
It can ultimately lead to significant injury to yourself or the creature you’re approaching and/or touching, and in this situation, it resulted in death for the newborn calf.
Like many other animals, when the scent of another species (such as a human) gets on the baby, it can cause that animal to be rejected by its mother. Unfortunately for the calf, it will struggle to survive without the protection of the herd, and ultimate pose a risk to itself and to humans.
(News Release) Yellowstone law enforcement officers investigate incident of a man intentionally disturbing a bison calf; incident results in death of calf. Visitors: Respect wildlife by giving them room to roam. More: https://t.co/A8mJc9WeaR