The story making the rounds last week about the tourists trying to “rescue” a bison calf in Yellowstone National Park came to an unfortunate conclusion Monday when the park service announced they euthanized the calf. A week ago, a pair of presumably well-meaning, but utterly misguided, tourists saw the calf in the middle of the road and worried the animal was cold and dying. That led them to believe it was a good idea to pile the animal in the back of their SUV and seek help at a ranger station.
That was, obviously, not the right move. But general human ridiculousness (and ignorance) is something the park service appears to be dealing with more and more these days. From the National Park Service:
Last week in Yellowstone National Park, visitors were cited for placing a newborn bison calf in their vehicle and transporting it to a park facility because of their misplaced concern for the animal’s welfare. 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. 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.
“In Yellowstone, it’s not a zoo,” a park spokeswoman told the Washington Post. “We don’t manage for individuals; we manage for ecosystems.” The tourists were issued a $110 fine and may face further charges.