Well Green Monsters, we thought that we had seen people do some pretty ridiculous things when it comes to mistreatment of wild animals. After all, we’ve seen a swarm of tourists effectively stop an endangered turtle egg-laying season all so they could take selfies. Not to mention, the time a group of people found a beached dolphin and opted to take some snaps with it, instead of putting it back in the water. We think it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to certain types of intelligence, namely basic logic and understanding of ecosystems, humans can hardly be considered top of the class. But we really and truly hoped that amidst all of this blatant nonsense, people might finally start to learn a thing or two about how they should interact with the animal world. Then we heard about this…
A baby bison was recently euthanized by authorities at Yellowstone National Park after he was taken from his family and placed into a visitors’ car because he looked “cold.” According to a witness, the people who took in the bison drove up to a ranger station, demanding to speak with an official as they “were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying.” Despite the fact that another group of visitors advised them to let the bison go, they refused to do so believing they were really helping the animal.
Now, on the surface, this action might have come from a good place, the reality is that the people who opted to remove the calf and put him in their car did so without any basic understanding of how the animal’s needs. Not only have bison evolved for thousands of years to endure extreme weather, but they are also very wary of human interference. Taking a baby away from the herd makes them prone to be rejected by their family – and sadly this is what happened to this young one.
“Interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring,” the Park Service wrote in a statement. “In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd. 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.”
Yellowstone National Park has a very strict policy against letting visitors approach wildlife, and as this example shows – with good reason. We all have a responsibility to keep wild animals in their natural habitat and regardless of what we might perceive as “best” for these animals, we need to recognize that it is really up to experienced professionals to make these sort of decisions. Please, if you ever come across an animal that seems to be in distress, contact a local wildlife rehabber/rescuer or veterinarian ASAP, or call a rescue hotline. Here are some that might help!
Image source: Karen Olsen Richardson/Twitter