The consequences of stupidity when it comes to wildlife were fully evident in this recent story from Yellowstone National Park. Stupid tourists have struck again. This time wildlife officials were forced to euthanize a bison calf after tourists kidnapped the animal last week thinking it was cold.
Bison are extremely protective and often reject offspring if they have been in contact with humans. That’s exactly what happened when officials tried to reunite the calf with the herd after a father and son delivered the calf to a nearby ranger station.
The pair apparently thought the bison calf was in danger. It being a wild animal and all, they somehow didn’t think it could survive the, uh, wild.
It was an especially dumb approach to wildlife in a park that has seen increasingly stupid things being carried out by tourists. Last year, park officials warned about increased encounters with animals, especially bison. There were five bison attacks, one of them fatal.
In this latest incident, Karen Richardson, who was chaperoning a group of fifth graders in the park, noticed a man and his son approach a ranger station with a bison calf in the backseat. Richardson snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook.
“They were demanding to speak with a ranger,” Richardson told the East Idaho News. “They were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying.”
Another visitor who approached the men said they were genuinely sincere in their concern for the animal even though people told them they would likely get in trouble. And in trouble they did get as they were fined an unreported amount.
“In terms of human safety, this was a dangerous activity because adult animals are very protective of their young and will act aggressively to defend them,” the park service wrote in a statement. “In addition, interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring. In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd. These efforts failed. The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway.”
Park officials reminded visitors to stay at least 25 yards from all wildlife and at least 100 yards from bears and wolves.
Photo credit: Facebook