Some guy grabbed a baby bison at a national park, and it had to be euthanized

May 25 2023, 4:04 pm

Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park is facing heat from animal rights advocates after a newborn bison calf was put down following a physical interaction with a park visitor.

On Tuesday, the park released a photo of the visitor holding up the calf near a river inside the park.

It said that on May 20, the calf had been separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River, and as it struggled to cross the river, the man in the image pushed it up onto the roadway.

Other visitors witnessed the calf approach people and cars and try to follow them.

“Interference by people can cause wildlife to reject their offspring. In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd. These efforts failed,” Yellowstone National Park wrote. “The calf was later killed by park staff because it was abandoned by the herd and causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway.”

When the news broke, it split the internet into multiple discussions.

Many highlighted the importance of not interacting with wildlife in a way that can cause such harm.

Yet more were upset that the national park immediately put the baby bison down instead of sending it to a sanctuary or exhausting other feasible options.

One Twitter user even tagged a Wyoming-based animal sanctuary to partner up with Yellowstone and prevent such instances of animal euthanasia in future.

The park answered questions about the calf being euthanized instead of rehabilitated.

“Federal and state regulations prohibit the transport of bison out of Yellowstone unless those bison are going to meat processing or scientific research facilities,” wrote the park. “We now have a quarantine facility so bison can go through the months-long testing protocols for brucellosis and, if negative, be used to start conservation herds elsewhere. However, the use of quarantine for a newborn calf that’s abandoned and unable to care for itself is not a good candidate for quarantine.”

Yellowstone admitted that this was a difficult conversation to have on social media and said it was essential to understand that national parks operated differently than animal sanctuaries or zoos.

“We made the choice we did not because we are lazy, uncaring, or inexpert in our understanding of bison biology. We made the choice we did because national parks preserve natural processes,” the park added.

The statement also highlighted how often animals die at national parks.

“As many as 25% of the bison calves born this spring will die, but those deaths will benefit other animals by feeding everything from bears and wolves to birds and insects,” it further read. “Unfortunately, the calf’s behaviour on roads and around people was hazardous, so rangers had to intervene: but the calf’s body was left on the landscape.”

The park clarified that it didn’t want everyone to agree with its decision. Instead, it stressed the significance of letting animals roam free.

“Stay at least 100 yards away from wolves and bears, and at least 25 yards away from all other animals. Help us make it socially unacceptable to do anything else.”

The explanation was met with a mix of acceptance and recoil.

On social media, many say they understand why the calf was killed and are defending the park’s practices while also appreciating the park for offering transparency in the matter.

Some believe the park overly villainized the visitor who “unintentionally disturbed” the bison calf to save it from drowning in the river.

While others don’t think the explanation provides enough reason to euthanize the animal.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

National Trending StaffNational Trending Staff

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