Hawaii man pleads guilty in Yellowstone bison calf case

Via the Wyoming News Exchange

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Clifford Walters of Hawaii pleaded guilty to one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife on Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie A. Hambrick.


Walters 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 U.S. Attorney’s Office.


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 walk up to and follow cars and people. Park rangers tried repeatedly 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 causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people along the roadway.


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


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.


This story was published on June 1, 2023.


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