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Wednesday, May 24, 2023 23:27

ABC Eyewitness News7

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo.– Yellowstone National Park officials killed the newborn bison because the herd refused to take the animal back after a man did.

The calf became separated from its mother as the herd crossed the Lamar River northeast of Yellowstone on Saturday. The unidentified man pushed the struggling calf from the river onto the road, park officials said in a statement Tuesday.

Park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd but were unsuccessful. Visitors saw the calf walking towards and following cars and people, creating a hazard, so park staff killed the animal, according to the statement.

This is the most recent example of a Yellowstone visitor getting into trouble or being injured after approaching a bison. Park officials euthanized a newborn calf after a similar incident in 2016, when a Canadian man and his son loaded the calf into their SUV, thinking they could save it.

The man pleaded guilty. He was fined $235 and ordered to pay $500 to the Yellowstone Park Foundation Wildlife Protection Fund.

Bison have gored several people in Yellowstone in recent years, often after they got too close to the animal.

Many of Yellowstone's larger animals – including the bison, which can run up to 35 mph (55 kilometers per hour) and weigh up to 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) – are extremely dangerous, even when they are grazing or resting.

Park rules require visitors to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from wildlife including bison, deer and deer, and at least 100 yards (91 meters) from bears and wolves.

Park officials are investigating the bison calf incident. The suspect was a white male in his 40s or 50s who was wearing a blue shirt and black pants, the statement said.

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