MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. (NEXSTAR) – Authorities are asking for anyone with information to come forward after a man allegedly interacted with a newborn bison calf that later died in Yellowstone National Park.
Park officials say the man approached the calf, which had been separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River, on Saturday, May 20. He was seen pushing the calf away from the river and onto a nearby roadway.
According to Yellowstone visitors, the calf then walked up to and followed cars and people.
Park rangers tried “repeatedly” to reunite the bison calf with its herd but “these efforts failed,” Yellowstone officials said Tuesday.
“The calf was later killed by park staff because it was abandoned by the herd and causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway,” authorities wrote in a news release.
Now, park officials are asking anyone who visited Lamar Valley during the evening of May 20 with information about the incident to contact the Yellowstone National Park Tip Line at 307-344-2132 or YELL_Tip@nps.gov.
The individual involved in the incident – seen in the image below provided by the National Park Service – is described as a white man in his 40s or 50s who was wearing a blue shirt, black pants, and sunglasses.
Park regulations require visitors to remain at least 25 yards from all wildlife and at least 100 yards from bears and wolves. Violating those regulations could result in fines, or more seriously, injury and death.
A Yellowstone National Park spokesperson tells Nexstar a charge for a violation such as this would be a Class B misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. Potential charges could include disturbing wildlife, disorderly conduct, or approaching wildlife.
Last year, a 25-year-old woman was tossed 10 feet into the air by a bison she approached while walking near Old Faithful. Less than two months later, a 71-year-old woman was gored by a bison she and her daughter “inadvertently approached” in Yellowstone. Two days earlier, a man was gored by a bison after it charged him and his family. Both individuals survived but suffered injuries.