MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. — A baby bison was killed by Yellowstone National Park staff after its herd rejected it following an encounter with a man on Saturday.
In a news release, officials with Yellowstone National Park said they were looking for a man who went up to a bison calf in Lamar Valley. He was seen wearing a blue shirt and black pants and is believed to be in his 40s or 50s.
The man apparently tried to help the calf after he had noticed it was separated from its herd as the group crossed the Lamar River, according to CBS News.
According to park staff, the man tried to push the calf from the river to the road.
Visitors in the area reportedly saw the calf walking up to cars and people, NBC reported.
Park staff tried to reunite the calf with its herd but were unsuccessful, according to the news outlet.
“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 calf was later killed by park staff because it was abandoned by the herd and causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway,” park staff said.
Park staff says that there are park regulations in place that require people to stay at least 25 yards away from wildlife such as bison, elk and deer while visiting the area. They say to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. If visitors don’t abide by these regulations, they can be fined, injured or even killed.
If the man in this incident is found guilty, he could possibly be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for “disturbing wildlife, disorderly conduct, and approaching wildlife,” park officials told CNN. If convicted, he could face six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Human interference with wild animals can “affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival,” park staff said.