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The Yellowstone bison calf that a pair of tourists put in their car because they thought the animal was too cold has been euthanized, the National Park Service said on Monday.
In a statement on its website, the NPS said that it had “repeatedly” attempted to return the newborn to its herd, but its mother had refused to take it back. Park authorities put down the baby bison because it had begun to approach people and cars on the road.,
“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,” the park wrote. “In addition, interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring.”
A father and son, described in news reports as foreign tourists, put the bison calf in their SUV and drove it to a ranger station last Monday because they thought the animal was cold. The story went viral after teacher Karen Richardson, who was chaperoning an elementary-school trip to the park, snapped a picture of the animal. Rangers ticketed both men, according to East Idaho News.
Yellowstone National Park regulations require visitors to stay at least 25 yards from all wildlife, and at least 100 yards from bears and wolves.