Getting too close to full-grown bison and trying to "save" newborn bison calves from the cold are some of the illegal and downright dangerous and inappropriate behaviors visitors to Yellowstone National Park have taken in recent weeks, prompting park officials to warn all visitors to behave appropriately in the park.
In the case of the bison calf, which two visitors placed inside their SUV recently because they thought it was cold, park rangers later had to put down the animal because it was abandoned by its mother and "was continually approaching visitors and vehicles."
In a release Monday morning park officials urged visitors to respect the fact that the park's animals are wild and should be viewed from a distance.
In the case of the two unidentified visitors who placed the newborn bison calf in their vehicle, rangers cited them for "their misplaced concern for the animal's welfare."
"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. In addition, interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring," the release said. "In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd. These efforts failed. The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway."
In the weeks prior to that there was a video of a visitor who "approached within an arm's length of an adult bison in the Old Faithful area. Another video featured visitors posing for pictures with bison at extremely unsafe and illegal distances. Last year, five visitors were seriously injured when they approached bison too closely. Bison injure more visitors to Yellowstone than any other animal," the release went on.
Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival. Park regulations require that you 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. The safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules.