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A well-intentioned tourist who came to the rescue of a young bison calf last weekend in Yellowstone National Park unwittingly caused its death, according to the National Park Service.
The man saw the newborn animal struggling in an area of northern Wyoming where the Lamar River joins with Soda Butte Creek, according to an NPS news release Tuesday.
“As the calf struggled, the man pushed the calf up from the river and onto the roadway,” the release said. “Visitors later observed the calf walk up to and follow cars and people.”
The young animal survived the perilous river crossing but was now in a new form of danger without its mother or its herd.
The Cowboy State Daily, reporting on the incident, said wildlife experts disputed the common belief that the calf’s mother would have rejected it after it was handled by humans.
However, the news outlet reported, the calf’s mother appeared disinclined to swim back across the river, and the calf “showed no interest” in trying to swim across to join the herd.
“The day was getting late,” the Cowboy Daily reported. “Park authorities closed that section of the road, briefly. A single gunshot was heard.
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