(Yellowstone) - Frustration boiled online across the nation over the weekend and into Monday. Last week two tourists picked up a bison calf weighing less than 100 pounds, placed it in the back of a Toyota Sequoia, and drove to the ranger station in Yellowstone National Park. Read the initial report here
Yesterday, it was reported that the bison calf could not be successfully
reintroduced to the wild and was subsequently euthanized.
"Interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring," YNP
officials stated. "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."
Many still questioned why the bison couldn't be moved to a conservation
center or elsewhere. According to Q2 News
the Montana Fish Wildlife and Park's Communication, Education Director Bob
Gibson says there is one big reason that may pose a risk for other wildlife.
"It has first to do with disease," Gibson said. "There are diseases in the
park that are not elsewhere that we don't want to move that animal and do
that. Even when buffalo are transferred from the park off to the tribes,
those animals are vetted for disease a lot first. Just to pick up an animal
and go over and plunk it down into another herd is asking for trouble.
Second, there is no reason to believe that if that little calf was rejected
by its original herd that it would not be rejected by the herd you plugged
it into another one of the reservations or somewhere else or a conservation
Gibson said it's rare to be able to relocate an animal with hooves. Bears
and some birds are exceptions, but even then can be difficult to move.
YNP added: "In order to ship the calf out of the park, it would have had to
go through months of quarantine to be monitored for brucellosis. No
approved quarantine facilities exist at this time, and we don't have the
capacity to care for a calf that's too young to forage on its own. Nor is
it the mission of the National Park Service to rescue animals: our goal is
to maintain the ecological processes of Yellowstone. Even though humans
were involved in this case, it is not uncommon for bison, especially young
mothers, to lose or abandon their calves. Those animals typically die of
starvation or predation."
None of which would need to be considered if tourists learned the golden
rule for wildlife.
Q2 News reached out to Yellowstone National Park officials to get a better
understanding of the ticket handed out to the tourists.
Since it is a federal crime, the tourists will likely face the park's
federal magistrate for further punishment.
Read Q2's full report here
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