Idiot Tourists Calf-nap Baby Elk & Take It to Yellowstone Police
Just when you thought stupid tourist moments might calm down for a day or two, they come out swinging.
Usually, we hear about tourists getting their butt handed to them by a bison. Occasionally, we hear about tourists getting stupid with bears.
It's not bears or bison up this week for idiot tourist moments. This time, we're talking about elk.
Or, a baby elk, to be precise.
Tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park over the weekend decided a baby elk calf wasn't safe out in nature...you know...where elk belong. So what do they do? They stick the baby in the back of their car and tow it to the West Yellowstone, Montana, Police Department.
You heard that right. They kidnapped a baby elk.
Why do I say kidnapped?
Because any reasonably informed person who took the time to learn about the wildlife in the area would know that the mama elk was probably pretty dang close to that baby, that's what mammas do. So, that calf was stolen out from Mamma Elk's nose, by a bunch of tourists.
The official statement from Park Officials details the incident as follows, reports Outsider:
"During the Memorial Day weekend, visitors placed an elk calf in their car while likely driving on U.S. Highway 191 in the park and brought the newborn to the West Yellowstone, Montana, Police Department."
The statement added that the calf fled into the forest, and its condition remains unknown.
The Damage Human Interaction Causes on Baby Animals
The lingering uncertainty over the elk's condition is two-fold - first off, was it injured by human interactions? And secondly, will it make its way back to its mother?
It cannot be stressed enough that humans should never interfere with a wild animal, baby or not. The Pauline Schneegas Wildlife Foundation notes that "Mother deer, elk, and antelope often leave their babies unattended for hours at a time because the babies are safer alone than with their mothers." Moreover, unless you know a baby elk (or deer, antelope, etc.) is orphaned, you should leave it alone.
If you are concerned an animal is orphaned, the only thing you should do is contact the nearest Game & Fish Department or Park Ranger station. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation notes, "Fish and Game employees are happy to take calls about apparently orphaned or injured animals, answer questions, and, when necessary, retrieve animals."
So tourists, next time you see a baby animal alone in the wild, leave them where they belong...in the wild.