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Yellowstone officials explain why bison calf was euthanized

Idaho

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Yellowstone National Park is explaining why a bison calf was euthanized after tourists transported the animal to a ranger station last week.

Park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd, but these efforts failed, according to a news release issued Monday morning. The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway.

bison again

Some concerned tourists in Yellowstone National Park thought a bison calf was cold and put it in their SUV on Monday. | Courtesy of Karen Richardson

Many around the world have questioned why the animal was not transported to a zoo or other facility.

In a post on the Yellowstone Facebook page, officials gave an explanation:

In order to ship the calf out of the park, it would have had to go through months of quarantine to be monitored for brucellosis. No approved quarantine facilities exist at this time, and we don’t have the capacity to care for a calf that’s too young to forage on its own. Nor is it the mission of the National Park Service to rescue animals: our goal is to maintain the ecological processes of Yellowstone. Even though humans were involved in this case, it is not uncommon for bison, especially young mothers, to lose or abandon their calves. Those animals typically die of starvation or predation.

Park regulations require tourists to stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife (including bison, elk and deer) and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. Disregarding these regulations can result in fines, injury or death.

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