There is sad news coming out of Yellowstone National Park, as a newborn bison had to be euthanized after tourists put the animal in their SUV on May 9. Sadly, their ignorance sparked a chain of events leading to the animal's death and the National Park Services issuing a statement for park visitors to stay away from wildlife for their own good, as well as the animals'.
While visiting the park last week, two visitors saw the young bison and imprudently believed it was too cold and needed immediate assistance. The animal was loaded into the back of their SUV and brought to a ranger station.
"In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd," said NPS in a statement. "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.
Some have criticized the park's decision to put the calf down, saying that they could have hand-raised the bison instead.
Relocating the animal to a sanctuary outside of the park would require the bison to spend months in isolation to make sure it didn't have any diseases that could harm other animals, but the park did not have the necessary facility. It was also too young to be able to survive on its own within a herd. If it were really as simple as that, it most assuredly would have been done and the bison would not have been euthanized.
Let's be clear about one important fact: NPS does not have the resources to care for individual animals after careless tourists have irrevocably harmed them, nor should they need to have that system in place.
There can be very real consequences for wildlife when humans interfere with wild animals. Additionally, coming too close to animals can be harmful to people as well. Overprotective parents can and will charge when they believe a person is threatening their offspring.
In the wake of this needless tragedy, NPS reminded park visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from animals like bison, deer, and moose. There should be a distance of 100 yards between bears and wolves. When in doubt, go farther away.
This bison is just the most recent animal whose harassment has gone viral. In October, an otter was traumatized when it was awoken by a boater for absolutely no reason. In February, an endangered baby dolphin died after being passed around on an Argentina beach for opportunistic tourists to take selfies.
Wild animals do not want to interact with humans and humans who truly care about wildlife should not want to interact with them either.
It's simple: leave wildlife alone.