Man Pleads Guilty to Intentionally Disturbing Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park
A Hawaii man pleaded guilty to one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife in Yellowstone National Park during a hearing in federal court in Mammoth on Wednesday.
Clifford Walters entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie A.
Hambrick, according to a press release from the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office.
Walters represented himself in this case, according to court records.
Hambrick levied on Walters a $500 fine, a $500 community service payment to the Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund, a $30 special assessment, and a $10 processing fee.
The violation notice says Walters approached a struggling newborn bison calf in Lamar Valley near the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek on May 20.
The calf had been separated from its mother when the herd crossed the river.
The calf struggled and Walters pushed it 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.
Park staff euthanized the calf because the herd abandoned it, and it caused a hazardous situation by approaching cars and people.
The report did not indicate that Walters acted maliciously.
Yellowstone National Park says approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival.
Park regulations require people to 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 case was investigated by Yellowstone National Park law enforcement officers and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christyne M. Martens.