(NEXSTAR) – Authorities are searching for two visitors who were seen “harassing” a bison calf in Grand Teton National Park earlier this month, marking just the latest unsafe interaction between humans and wildlife investigated by the National Park Service.
The two people, who appear to be men, were seen approaching and touching a bison calf at the southern end of Elk Ranch Flats around 1 p.m. on June 4, Grand Teton rangers said in a press release Thursday.
“Interference by people can cause wildlife to reject their offspring,” rangers noted. “Often, these interactions result in euthanizing the animal.”
Unlike a similar case in Yellowstone National Park last month, this bison calf was reunited with its herd.
Officials are asking that if you were in the area on June 4 and have information about the incident, or recognize the individuals in the photo below provided by the national park, to call the Grand Teton tip line at 307-739-3367.
Late last month, a Hawaii man pleaded guilty to disturbing a bison calf Yellowstone National Park rangers were later forced to kill. Clifford Walters was seen pushing the calf, which had become separated from its mother, away from a rushing river and onto a nearby road. Despite efforts to reunite the calf with its herd, rangers were forced to euthanize it.
Walters told The New York Times he was trying to save the calf from the river, saying it was struggling after being swept downstream.
“I couldn’t stand to see it die,” he told the outlet, calling his decision “an act of compassion.” Walters was ordered to pay a $500 fine, a $500 Community Service Payment to the Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund, $30 in a special assessment, and a $10 processing fee.
Yellowstone rangers are still investigating a second incident in Yellowstone that happened over the Memorial Day weekend. A group of visitors allegedly put an elk calf in their car and drove it to a nearby police department in Montana.
Park officials say the elk ran into a nearby forest. It’s unclear what condition the elk is in, and the incident remains under investigation.
Following both incidents and “some actions by visitors,” Yellowstone is warning visitors to protect the park’s wildlife.
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.
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.
Yellowstone rangers have asked that if you see a visitor in-person or online doing something that “might hurt them, others, or the park” to report it to a ranger or, if you’re in the park, dial 911. Grand Teton rangers say incidents can be reported to the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3301.