Baby bison put down due to 'rescue' by tourists

Two tourists loaded the newborn bison into their car boot and drove it to a ranger station because they thought it looked like it was cold. The calf later had to be euthanised because its mother rejected it.
Two tourists loaded the newborn bison into their car boot and drove it to a ranger station because they thought it looked like it was cold. The calf later had to be euthanised because its mother rejected it.PHOTO: ANIMAL RIGHTS

LOS ANGELES • A newborn bison calf put in a car by tourists because it looked like it was cold had to be put down, Yellowstone National Park officials said on Monday.

Two tourists loaded the animal into their car boot last week and drove it to a ranger station. They also took a photograph of the calf and posted it on a social media site, prompting a backlash.

The calf later had to be euthanised because its mother rejected it as a result of "interference by people", officials said. "In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd. These efforts failed," the park said in a statement on its website.

"The bison calf was later euthanised because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway."

The park also berated visitors for taking selfies and videos near the bison, and flouting rules that require people stay at least 23m away from the animals. Five visitors were seriously injured last year after getting too close to the bison, the park said.

In the latest incident, a father and son transported the bison calf in their Toyota Sequoia to a ranger station. " They were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying," said Ms Karen Richardson, a parent who was chaperoning a group of students on a field trip.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Baby bison put down due to 'rescue' by tourists'. Print Edition | Subscribe