Breaking News
More () »

Man pleads guilty after pushing Yellowstone bison calf out from river

The man from Hawaii pleaded guilty to one count and paid a fine after he pushed a calf up from a river, causing its herd to abandon it.
Credit: Hellen Jack via Yellowstone National Park
An unidentified man approached a newborn bison calf in Lamar Valley near the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — A man who approached a struggling bison calf and pushed it out of a river in Yellowstone National Park, starting a chain of events that led to the calf's death, pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

Clifford Walters of Hawaii pleaded guilty to one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife before a U.S. magistrate judge, the National Parks Service said Thursday.

The incident happened the evening of May 20 in the Lamar Valley near the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek in the northeast corner of the park, according to a National Parks Service news release.

Park officials said the calf had been separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River. As the calf struggled, a man pushed it up from the river and onto the roadway.

Visitors later saw the calf walk up and follow cars and people. 

Park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with its herd, but their efforts weren't successful. The calf was euthanized by park staff because it had been abandoned by the herd and was causing a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people in the roadway, NPS said.

There was nothing in the report of the incident that showed Walters acted maliciously, NSP said.

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.

Yellowstone National Park regulations require that people stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife – including bison – and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

Yellowstone was the seventh most-visited national park in the United States last year, with more than 3.2 million visitors.

More 9NEWS coverage of Yellowstone:    

> Share your photos or video with 9NEWS through “Near Me” on the free 9NEWS app! DOWNLOAD APP FOR IPHONE HERE or DOWNLOAD APP FOR ANDROID HERE.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Animals and Wildlife   


Watch more from 9NEWS on the free 9NEWS+ app for Roku and Fire TV.      

9NEWS+ has multiple live daily shows including 9NEWS Mornings, Next with Kyle Clark and 9NEWS+ Daily, an original streaming program. 9NEWS+ is where you can watch live breaking news, weather updates, and press conferences. You can also replay recent newscasts and find videos on demand of our top stories, local politics, investigations and Colorado specific features.      

To download 9NEWS+ on Roku search for KUSA.       

To download 9NEWS+ on Fire TV search for 9NEWS.     

RELATED: Watch 9NEWS for free on ROKU, Apple TV, Fire TV 

Before You Leave, Check This Out