YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — A Utah woman says she encountered the young bison calf that was euthanized after tourists put the animal in their vehicle.
EastIdahoNews.com broke the story that gained worldwide attention this past week.
Natalie Kinzel told KUTV 2News she was at Yellowstone on May 9 when she saw a herd of bison crossing a river.
She recorded video with her phone as a little bison was swept downstream and ignored by the herd. The calf eventually made it out of the water but was left all alone.
“It was just heart-wrenching because it was literally collapsing, and there was no buffalo around,” Kinzel told KUTV.
Kinzel kept recording as the calf alternated between leaning against her car and standing there, shivering.
“It was so pitiful,” Kinzel said. “We were teary eyed when we left.”
It’s impossible to say for certain that the bison in her video is the same one that ended up being euthanized, but Kinzel is convinced it is. She says all the details match up — same place, same time of day, and same description of a baby animal lost and cold.
Meanwhile, a citation given to the tourist who put the bison calf in his car is shedding further light on what happened.
Shamash Kassam, who was with his son visiting from Canada, told officers the bison was in the middle of the road, wet and shivering, and would not leave their vehicle for 20 minutes. Kasaam said they waited to see if any bison would come back for the calf.
“After 20 minutes they still could not see any bison anywhere in the vicinity, the bison calf would not leave their vehicle, appearing to be seeking warmth from the engine, and Kasaam stated he decided to pick up the bison calf or it would have been road kill,” the citation states.
Kasaam drove to the Buffalo Ranch and called law enforcement. The responding officer told Kasaam that he was preventing the bison’s mother from locating it and possibly altering its ability to survive in the wild.
“Kasaam states that he understood what he did was wrong and he would never pick up or disturb any wildlife again, and instead would wait at the scene and call for law enforcement,” the citation states.
The document says a bison herd was near where Kasaam had picked up the calf and the baby was released. Park officials said they ended up euthanizing the baby bison because it was rejected by the herd. They said sending the animal out of the park was not an option.
Kasaam was fined $110 and must appear at the Mammoth Hot Springs Justice Center on June 2.