Yellowstone National Park has confirmed that they had to put down a baby bison after a visitor purposefully touched it.
The young bison, who was being taken care of by the famous national park in Wyoming, got separated from its mother, as stated by the park officials.
According to the park, a visitor tried to assist the baby bison in rejoining its group. However, despite the park rangers' efforts to reunite them, the calf was rejected.
Due to safety concerns, the park made the difficult decision to euthanize the calf. It had been abandoned by its herd and was approaching cars and people along the road, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
The park shared this information in an official news release on Tuesday, May 23.
Law enforcement officers at Yellowstone are now seeking information from the public regarding the incident, which took place on the evening of May 20, 2023, in the park's northeast corner.
The park stated that the individual "intentionally disturbed the calf' which 'resulted in the death of the calf."
"An unidentified white male in his 40-50's, wearing a blue shirt and black pants, approached a newborn bison calf in Lamar Valley near the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek," the park announced on Tuesday.
"The calf had been separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River. As the calf struggled, the man pushed the calf up from the river and onto the roadway. Visitors later observed the calf walk up to and follow cars and people."
"Interfering with wildlife can lead to them being rejected by their parents," they further explained.
"Interference by people can cause wildlife to reject their offspring. In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd. These efforts failed."
The park staff had to put down the calf because it was left behind by its herd and was creating a dangerous situation by getting too close to cars and people on the road.
According to the park rules, visitors are required to keep a distance of 25 yards (23m) from all wildlife, such as bison, elk, and deer. For bears and wolves, the distance should be 100 yards (91m).
Yellowstone is currently conducting an investigation into the incident.
"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."
If you have any information regarding the incident, please reach out to the Yellowstone National Park tip line at 307-344-2132 or email YELL_Tip@nps.gov.