Baby Bison Euthanized After Clueless Tourists Separated Calf from Herd and Put Him Into Their Vehicle Because they Thought it Was ‘Too Cold’ Outside
The recent “rescue” of a baby bison by tourists in Yellowstone National Park – an incident that led to the unfortunate calf being euthanized – has caused an internet furor, while also illustrating just how clueless many people are regarding wild animals and their natural behavior.
The story began when a woman named Karen Richardson, who was chaperoning a group of kids on a field trip to the park, snapped a photo of something unusual – a baby bison standing inside a tourist’s SUV.
A father and son who were visiting the park had found the bison calf standing alone in a field, and “were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying,” according to Richardson. The pair loaded the calf into their SUV and set off to find park rangers, which is when Richardson encountered them and took the photograph.
From Epoch Times:
“Another adult accompanying Richardson and the group of children told the tourists to get the bison out of their car and warned them they could be in trouble for having it.
“Richardson took a picture of the bison and later posted it on Facebook.
“‘Dear Tourists: The Bison calf is not cold and it is not lost. PUT IT BACK! (yes, the park rangers took care of the situation),’ Richardson wrote in her Facebook post.
“Little did she know what would ensue.
“Soon enough, her post was picked up by multiple media outlets.”
An internet curiosity turned into a full-blown media firestorm, when it was later announced that the calf had to be euthanized because rangers were unable to reintroduce it to the herd.
Outraged citizens began taking to social media, some blaming the tourists who tried to rescue the animal, some blaming the park rangers, and others mistakenly attacking Richardson on the assumption that she was the one who took the calf out of the field.
New details have emerged suggesting that the calf had already been abandoned by its mother, and might have died anyway, whether or not it had been picked up the park visitors who tried to save it.
Either way, it was foolish to remove the calf from the field, as the would-be rescuer, Shamash Kassam, admitted.
Kassam was fined $110, and made a promise that he “would never pick up or disturb any wildlife again, and instead would wait at the scene and call for law enforcement.”
Keeping a distance
Visitors to national parks often ignore warnings to keep a safe distance from animals. Yellowstone National Park receives more than 3 million visitors annually, and there have been a number of incidents involving people getting too close to wildlife.
From Fox News:
“In another recent high-profile case, a woman was seen on video trying to pet an adult bison as it rested on the boardwalk around Old Faithful. In another, tourists posed for photos dangerously close to bison that had caused a traffic jam on a road.
“Five visitors were seriously injured last year after getting too close to the massive animals.
“Approaching wildlife also can affect their well-being and survival, possibly causing mothers to reject their offspring, park officials said.
“Such reminders are included on Yellowstone’s website, in information handed to visitors as they come in and on signs throughout the park.”
I’m assuming that Kassam and his son have learned a lesson, and perhaps the social media uproar triggered by the incident will serve to prevent others from making similar mistakes.
Many of us have almost completely lost contact with the natural world and its own set of rules. When we are fortunate enough to spend time in natural surroundings we must remain respectful observers and do our best not to disturb the few wilderness habitats we haven’t yet destroyed.