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Yellowstone bison calf euthanized after a man tried to help it

Man intentionally 'disturbed' a bison calf in Yellowstone National Park
Posted at 4:57 PM, May 23, 2023

GREAT FALLS — Yellowstone National Park law enforcement officers are asking the public for information about an incident that happened on the evening of Saturday, May 20, 2023, involving an unidentified man and a newborn bison calf in the park’s northeast corner.

Park officials said in a news release that the "unfortunate incident where the man intentionally disturbed the calf resulted in the death of the calf."

The man, who appeared to be in his 40s or 50s, was wearing a blue shirt and black pants, and approached a newborn bison calf in Lamar Valley near the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.

The calf had been separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River. We have received reports that the calf had already been rejected by its mother and herd, but have not been able to confirm it.

As the calf struggled, the man pushed the calf up from the river and onto the road.

Man intentionally 'disturbed' a bison calf in Yellowstone National Park
Man intentionally 'disturbed' a bison calf in Yellowstone National Park

Visitors later saw the calf walk up to and follow cars and people. Park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd, but were not successful.

The calf was later euthanized by park staff because it was abandoned by the herd and was causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the road.

Interference by people can cause wildlife to reject their offspring. Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, as in this case, their survival. Park regulations require that people stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife (including bison, elk and deer) and at least 100 yards 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.

If you were in Lamar Valley on the evening of May 20, 2023, and have information that could help this investigation, you're asked to contact the Yellowstone National Park Tip Line at 307-344-2132 or


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