Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 |
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A herd of bison grazes in 2016 in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — A man who picked up a bison calf in Yellowstone National Park caused it to be shunned by its herd, prompting park officials to kill the animal rather than allow it to be a hazard to visitors.
Park officials quickly defended the decision to kill the newborn bison.
“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 said in a statement posted Tuesday on Twitter.
Park officials’ options for dealing with the animal were limited, according to the statement, which said bison must be quarantined before being sent to conservation herds outside the park. A bison calf abandoned and unable to care for itself is not a good candidate for quarantine, the statement said.
The calf became separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River in northeastern Yellowstone on Saturday. The unidentified man pushed the struggling calf up from the river and onto a roadway, park officials said.
Human interference with young wildlife can cause animals to shun their offspring. Park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd but were unsuccessful.
At one point, visitors saw the calf walking up to and following cars and people. This created a hazard, so park staff killed the animal, according to the news release.
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