(via Yellowstone National Park)

CASPER, Wyo. — A man who disturbed a newborn bison calf in Yellowstone has pleaded guilty today to one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife.

Clifford Walters of Hawaii was charged a $500 fine, a $500 Community Service payment to Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund, a $30 special assessment and a $10 processing fee, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming.

According to the violation notice, on May 20 Walters approached a struggling newborn bison calf in Lamar Valley 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.

As the calf struggled, the man pushed the calf up from the river and onto the roadway. Visitors later observed the calf walking up to and following cars and people. Park rangers repeatedly tried to reunite the calf with the herd, but their efforts were unsuccessful. The calf was later euthanized 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 notice states.

There was nothing in the report that revealed Walters acted maliciously, the release states.

This case was investigated by Yellowstone National Park law enforcement officers and prosecuted by Asst. United States Attorney Christyne M. Martens.

Per the release, Yellowstone National Park wants to remind the public that approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival. Park regulations require that people stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife, including 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 safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules.

For questions relating to Yellowstone National Park, contact the Public Affairs Office at 307-344-2015
or yell_public_affairs@nps.gov.