YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) – Yellowstone National Park officials killed a newborn bison because its herd would not 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 onto a roadway, park officials said in a statement Tuesday.
Park wardens repeatedly tried to reunite the calf with the herd, but were unsuccessful. Visitors saw the calf approach and follow cars and people, posing a hazard, which is why park staff killed the animal, the statement said.
It’s the latest example of Yellowstone visitors getting into trouble or being injured after approaching a bison. Park officials have euthanized a newborn bison after a similar incident in 2016 when a Canadian man and his son put the calf in their SUV thinking they could save it.
The man pleaded guilty. He was fined $235 and had to pay $500 to the Yellowstone Park Foundation’s Wildlife Protection Fund.
Bison impaled Several people in Yellowstone have killed several people in recent years, often after getting too close to the animals.
Many of Yellowstone National Park’s larger animals—including bison, which can run up to 55 kilometers per hour and weigh up to 900 kilograms—are deceptively dangerous even when just grazing or resting.
Park rules require visitors to stay at least 80 feet away from wildlife such as bison, moose, and deer, and at least 300 feet away from bears and wolves.
Park officials are investigating the bison calf incident. The suspect was a white male in his 40s or 50s wearing a blue shirt and black pants, the statement said.