Baby Yellowstone bison killed after visitor picked him up, leading herd to reject him
Yellowstone National Park officials killed a newborn bison because his herd wouldn’t take the animal back after a man picked it up.
The calf was separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River in northeast Yellowstone on Saturday. The unidentified man pushed the struggling calf out of the river and onto a road, park officials said in a statement Tuesday.
Park rangers tried several times to reunite the calf with the herd, but were unsuccessful. Visitors saw the calf walking toward and following cars and people, creating a hazard, so park staff killed the animal, the statement said.
This is the latest example of visitors to Yellowstone struggling or being injured after approaching a bison. Park officials euthanized a newborn bison after a similar incident in 2016, when a Canadian and his son put the calf in their SUV, thinking they could save it.
The man pleaded guilty. He was fined $235 and ordered to pay $500 to the Yellowstone Park Foundation Wildlife Protection Fund.
Bison have gored several people in Yellowstone in recent years, often after getting too close to the animals.
Many of Yellowstone’s larger animals, including bison, which can run up to 35 mph (55 kilometers per hour) and weigh up to 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms), are deceptively dangerous, even when they only graze or rest.
Park rules require visitors to keep at least 25 yards (23 yards) from wildlife, including bison, elk, and deer, and at least 100 yards (91 yards) from bears and wolves.
Park officials are investigating the bison calf incident. The suspect was a white male in his 40s or 50s who was wearing a blue shirt and black pants, the statement said.