Putting Yellowstone Baby Bison in Car Cost Animal Its Life

Author:
Updated:
Original:
Newborn bison calf May 10, 2014.

Bison calf 

Fearing a baby bison was too cold, two tourists made the bad decision in mid-May 2016 to place the bison in their car. The move cost the baby its life.

After the tourists brought the bison to a ranger station, park rangers returned it to the location where it had been. They repeatedly tried to reunite it with its mother, but the mother rejected it, possibly because of human intervention. As the baby bison wandered near cars and approached people, park rangers were forced to euthanize it.

“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,” Yellowstone National Park officials wrote in a statement. “In addition, interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring.”

Some familiar with the incident are questioning why the National Park Service had to euthanize the animal rather than rescue it or donate it to a ranch. Because bison can carry a contagious disease called brucellosis, park officials have told media outlets that the bison calf would have had to spend months in quarantine to be monitored for the disease before it could be transported elsewhere. At present, approved quarantine facilities do not exist in the park, nor does the park have the infrastructure set up to care for baby animals. Furthermore, because the baby bison was rejected by its mother and herd, it's possible a herd outside of the park would reject it, as well.

In light of this incident, as well as one earlier this spring when a tourist approached a bison to pet it, park officials want to remind visitors that park regulations require visitors stay at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all wildlife, including bison, elk and deer, and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. Disregarding these regulations can result in fines, injury and even death for visitors.

“The safety of park animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules,” Yellowstone official say.

Related

Bison in Yellowstone. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

Bison Becomes National Mammal

After 234 years, it’s time for another animal to join the American eagle as a national symbol. Will it be the bison?

Bison looking at the camera.

5 Visitors Gored by Bison in Yellowstone in 2015

2 teens, a 43-year-old, and 2 in their 60's had a encounters with bison when they got too close in Yellowstone. Five incidents in three months is unusual.

This 1894 photo of Yellowstone soldiers posing with bison killed by a poacher led to national public outcry and spurred Congress to give the Army the power to prosecute park violators. Photo by NPS

The Photo that Saved the Bison in Yellowstone

A 1894 photo of Yellowstone soldiers posing with bison killed by a poacher led to national public outcry and spurred Congress.

25 minute old elk calf at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Cute Baby Animals of Yellowstone!

If capturing a glimpse of wobbling baby elk and furry baby black bears is on your bucket list, plan to head to Yellowstone National Park between April and June.

A woman watching a bison from a safe distance in Yellowstone

How close can I get to wild animals in Yellowstone?

Stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from other large mammals like bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes.

Bison in Yellowstone

Biobullets Unlikely to Be Used on Yellowstone Bison

Park administrators recently put the kibosh on plans to shoot bison with “biobullets,” bullets laced with a vaccine to inhibit the spread of disease, saying the scheme was too ineffective to justify the expensive.

Bison walking through deep snow near Tower Junction in March. Photo by NPS Jim Peaco.

Yellowstone Bison Win a Court Case

March, 2014: The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that bison can temporarily roam outside the Yellowstone Park boundaries during winter without being killed.

Bison in Yellowstone in spring

Bison Return Home to Montana After a Century in Canada

In April 2016, 89 genetically pure bison will travel from Canada to the Blackfeet reservation. Their ancestors made the trip in reverse at the turn-of-the-20th century.

yellostone-bison-culling

Yellowstone Bison Hunt Takes Record Numbers

So far in 2013 hunters have killed more wild bison migrating from Yellowstone National Park than any year since 1989. Participation by American Indians, who harvest the animals under long-standing treaty rights, helped to drive the numbers skyward.