It has been one of the saddest and most entertaining opening months that I can remember as a Yellowstone area resident. This past month’s events had me laughing, angry and of course doubting the overall course of humanity with the lack of common sense that was put on display for all to see.
Up first is the now famous bison calf that got its life shortened by Canadian tourists who thought it was cold. Yup, they stuffed the little guy inside their rental car and took it to the nearest ranger station to ensure it didn’t die. What amazes me is that they were able to corral the thing, pick it up and load it without an encounter with a very large, four-legged mother.
After “rescuing” the calf they were cited by the National Park Service for their actions, which conveniently for us included pictures of the small bison in the back of their vehicle. Park rangers then made their best effort to reintroduce the animal to its herd. Sadly, the animal was rejected by the herd after it’s ride with the park visitors and had to be euthanized. What is even more sad is that people are actually rationalizing the man’s actions!
In the same week that the juvenile bison was making headlines, we had more stupidity in the park. A camera crew decided that leaving the boardwalk and trekking across the Grand Prismatic hot spring was a great idea. Apparently they didn’t get burned by a hot stove accidentally as small children because those hot springs aren’t something I would want to risk falling into.
Social media also made other park visitors famous as they attempted to pet grown bison. Others still were making attempts to take selfies with them at very close distances. This isn’t just limited to Yellowstone either, Custer State Park had their first woman be gored by a bison bull when she got too close.
Over the Memorial Day weekend video surfaced of a woman getting too close to a cow elk and her calf. This one didn’t end well for the woman when the cow ran into her. She is lucky the cow didn’t want to do more damage than what she did.
What scares me about these incidents the most is that these people have an influence on our big game and large predator management. Every time a court battle is fought we are told that people want to see bears and wolves just as much, if not more than they want to see elk and mule deer. The crazies who pet bison and stuff them inside of cars to rescue them are the same ones who the enviros are worried won’t be able to see wildlife in Yellowstone. Let that sink in for a second.
I love the money that the tourists bring to my county and I love the opportunities that are here where I choose to live. However, I don’t go into the park every year because I have been there and seen it many times. The craziness and road jams may also have something to do with it. My concern is seeing the elk that migrated out of the park every single year and seeing them maintain healthy populations where I do visit. Take a look at the tag numbers from 20 years ago in the NW corner of Wyoming and look at where they are now. The way it looks from where I sit the people living in the Disney version of nature are successfully hijacking which animals receive the highest priority by using the ESA as a weapon.
That type of logic is pure craziness. We have to fight tooth and nail to get wolves and grizzly bears off of the endangered species list for a chance to manage them and establish healthy populations based on carrying capacity. All the while people who don’t have the common sense not to pet a bison are pawns in a struggle for the continued success of the North American model of wildlife management.