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When it comes to the needless death of a young animal, the National Park Service does not mince words. "In recent weeks, visitors in the park have been engaging in inappropriate, dangerous, and illegal behavior with wildlife," the agency wrote in a press...

Bison calf euthanized after Yellowstone tourists drive away with it, fearing for its life

When it comes to the needless death of a young animal, the National Park Service does not mince words. "In recent weeks, visitors in the park have been engaging in inappropriate, dangerous, and illegal behavior with wildlife," the agency wrote in a press...

Bison calf euthanized after Yellowstone tourists drive away with it, fearing for its life

When it comes to the needless death of a young animal, the National Park Service does not mince words.

"In recent weeks, visitors in the park have been engaging in inappropriate, dangerous, and illegal behavior with wildlife," the agency wrote in a press release Monday. "These actions endanger people and have now resulted in the death of a newborn bison calf."

Those visitors were tourists in Yellowstone National Park, and their actions – while apparently noble – are hard to comprehend.

According to the East Idaho News, a father and son arrived at Lamar Buffalo Ranch, a preserve within the park, carrying a newborn bison calf in the back of their SUV.

"They were demanding to speak with a ranger," Karen Richardson, a witness to the event, told EastIdahoNews.com. "They were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying." 

It wasn't, park officials said – it was the human interference that actually endangered the animal.

The baby bison kidnapped by tourists in Yellowstone National Park, seen in the back of their SUV.Karen Richardson/Facebook 

Bison are very particular about their young. If a human gets between a mother and her calf, it could cause her to reject her own offspring. After retrieving the baby bison from the tourists, park rangers did try to reunite it with its mom.

"These efforts failed," park officials said. "The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway."

It's a sad ending to a strange kidnapping at Yellowstone, but the park service is now using the event as an opportunity to remind the public not to approach wildlife in national parks.

Park regulations require that you stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife (that includes bison, elk and deer) and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

Those are regulations that are flouted by tourists every year, leading to injury and occasionally death – for both humans and animals alike. 

--Jamie Hale | [email protected] | @HaleJamesB

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