A newborn bison had to be euthanized after visitors at Yellowstone National Park put the calf in the back of their SUV, National Park Service officials confirmed Monday.
The visitors put the calf in their vehicle last week because of their "misplaced concern" for the animal, officials said in a statement.
The father and son reportedly put it in their SUV and drove it to a ranger station because they thought it was too cold.
(PHOTO: Karen Richardson/Facebook)
"These actions... resulted in the death of a newborn bison calf," officials stated.
"...interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring," officials said in the statement. "In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd."
Officials said their efforts failed and the calf was abandoned.
In addition, the calf was causing a dangerous situation by approaching people and cars, stated officials.
It was later euthanized.
— YellowstoneNPS (@YellowstoneNPS) May 16, 2016
The visitors were cited for touching park wildlife and fined $110, Yellowstone spokeswoman Charissa Reid told the Associated Press.
The National Park Service included this warning in the statement issued Monday:
"Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival. Park regulations require that you stay at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all wildlife (including bison, elk and deer) and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. Disregarding these regulations can result in fines, injury, and even death. The safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules.
"In terms of human safety, this was a dangerous activity because adult animals are very protective of their young and will act aggressively to defend them."