No sooner than I posted the original PSA no becoming a touron, than a tourist in Yellowstone doing just that.
In this case, a man with good but very deadly results caused the death of a few-day-old bison calf that was attempting to cross the Lamar River. Per the story, the rest of the herd had already crossed and people could hear the mother calling for the calf to cross. As you may expect, a small calf in a fast-flowing river was struggling some.
With mother and calf calling for each other, in comes the “hero” of the story to save the day by pulling this calf out of the water. Sadly, that is the beginning of the death sentence for this calf. Cold and shivering, this calf was then approached by others that just had to pet this now confused and separated calf.
Did the “hero” stick around to ensure this calf would be ok for the rangers to help?
Nope, by the time the rangers were able to make it to the location after they rushed the location the man had left. The now confused calf was now wandering through the endless people and cars that had stopped to see this poor creature. As the rangers were hoping that either the mother would come back across the river or the calf would once again brave the cold swiftly moving water to find its mother, time was not on the calf’s side.
The rangers pondered, will the calf attempt to cross again? Will the mother and herd come to the rescue? If the calf and mother did get reunited, will she accept it back or would the herd? The poor creature had the scent of humans all over it because of the “hero” and the others that just had to touch and pet it, so the mother or herd could have kicked it out to a slow death of starvation or being eaten by the predators in the area.
As the sun slowly sink in the sky the rangers had to make the decision that they had hoped would not come. They closed the area and asked the park visitors in the area to leave. With a thunderous sound of a single rifle shot they had to shoot the calf. A calf that at the hands of a person meant well, but in their ignorance caused the death of this small calf.
As heartless as it seems to watch how cruel mother nature can be to the smallest and most gentle of the young animals, interfering with wildlife has much greater cruelty. These rangers don’t want to have to kill the wildlife that is in their parks, but because people don’t listen or understand the many signs and warnings the rangers have posted… Sometimes they must kill them.
If you were in the area of this event on the evening of May 20, 2023, and have information that can help find the man in the picture above or know the man, please contact the Yellowstone National Park Tip Line at 307-344-2132 or YELL_TIP@nps.gov
Suspect information: They describe him as a white male in his 40-50’s wearing a blue shirt and black pants.