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Bison grazing in Lamar Valley. Photo: Yellowstone National Park

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo.—An investigation is underway in Yellowstone National Park after a man was photographed handling a newborn bison calf on the evening of May 20. The incident resulted in the calf being rejected by the herd and later killed.

According to a press release, “Park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with the herd. These efforts failed. The calf was later killed by Park staff because it was abandoned by the herd and was causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway.”

The man allegedly approached the bison calf 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. The man then pushed the calf up from the river and onto the roadways. He was photographed holding the calf near the bank.

The unidentified man handling the calf near the bank of the Lamar River. Photo: Hellen Jack

Other visitors reportedly observed the calf walk up to, and follow cars and people.

The man is described as a white male in his 40s-50s, wearing a blue shirt and black pants.

“Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival,” says the Park. 

Park regulations require that people stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife such as 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 Park is asking that anyone who was in Lamar Valley on May 20 and has information about the incident, contact the Yellowstone National Park Tip Line at 307-344-2132 or

More information about when Yellowstone staff intervene in a natural process and why is available here.