Yellowstone bison calf killed by park rangers after tourists placed it in their rental car trunk

This is why we can't have nice things.

Some really stupid visitors to Yellowstone National Park decided that a baby bison they'd seen was "too cold," so they put it in their rental car trunk to warm it up, and drove it around for a while.

After the herd rejected the calf, the National Park Service decided to kill (or if you prefer, “euthanize”) the calf, and warned tourists not to interact with animals. For, like, the billionth time.

National Park Service officials want everyone who visits Yellowstone to know that adult animals, like this calf's mom and dad, can become aggressive when they're trying to protect their young. Mothers sometimes reject offspring that have interacted with humans.

Photo: Xeni Jardin, 2011

Bison grazing in Yellowstone park, 2011. Photo: Xeni Jardin.

As Mark wrote here, the father and son tourists visiting the park in Wyoming received a ticket from Park Rangers for putting the bison calf in their rental car.

As dumb as these tourists were, they're not alone. There have been several similar incidents this year in the park, shared on social media in which visitors ignore the rules, get too close to animals, and pose for selfies.

In 2015, Bison seriously injured five park visitors, which makes them more dangerous by the statistics than any other animal, including predators like bear, wolves, or big cats.

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From the Denver Post:

The newborn bison calf that visitors to Yellowstone National Park last week inadvisedly tried to rescue from the cold has been euthanized after efforts to reunite it with the herd were rejected, according to the National Park Service.

The foreign tourists drew widespread public scorn for placing the calf in their vehicle and driving it to a park ranger station, citing their fear that the animal was in danger from the cold. They were ticketed for violating park rules that prohibit approaching closer than 25 yards.

The incident prompted the NPS to issue an advisory reminding visitors of the potential consequences of such interactions and remind tourists of safety measures.

Although park rangers tried repeatedly to reintroduce the calf to the herd, the other bison abandoned it. After the calf continually approached people and vehicles, creating what officials deemed a dangerous situation, the animal was killed.

Still not clear on the rules around interacting with wildlife at Yellowstone? The National Park Service explains here. Snip:

Do not approach wildlife, no matter how tame or calm they appear. Always obey instructions from park staff on scene. You must stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes. Do not feed any animals. It harms them and it is illegal.

Bison can sprint three times faster than humans can run.

• They are unpredictable and dangerous.

• Your best view may be from inside a hard-sided vehicle.

• Every year visitors are gored and some have been killed.

[via Heather Beschizza]