Their scientific name is bison bison. They don’t wear coats.

I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park perhaps dozens of times. I’ve hiked, walked, cross-country skied, photographed, toured in the car, and gazed admiringly at the landscape. I love it there. Know what I’ve never done? PICKED UP A BUFFALO.

It’s like the start of the worst joke ever, but it’s true, and now I have to apologize to my cats yet again for being a member of the species Homo sapien sapien.

Last week, two human tourists picked up a buffalo calf and drove it to a ranger station because they thought it was cold and they are stupid. This resulted in park officials having to euthanize the calf because it was abandoned by the herd. Go humanity!

When I lived in Jackson, Wyoming, south of Grand Teton National Park which is south of Yellowstone, it seemed like there was a tourist death reported in the paper every week (they only came out on Wednesdays). Be it a climbing accident or an animal incident, it was usually related to human stupidity or error. Sometimes with the climbing accidents, it was the weather. When it was animal-related, it was almost always bison.

bisonUpon entering the parks, you get a map, a park newsletter, and plenty of warnings about not approaching animals. They are wild and dangerous; it’s not a petting zoo and even at a petting zoo, the goats kind of freak me out. Bison, specifically, are highlighted in the literature, including an awesome drawing:

“Visitors to the park are given a bright yellow flier that depicts a person getting gored by a bison. But the charms of the bison have proved hard to resist. Last July, a woman was tossed by a bison after trying to take a selfie with one. She was one of five people to be injured by bison last summer.”

I wonder what these people would be like on a visit to a farm. Would they bring onesies for the cows and scarves for the chickens? Or at the zoo, getting a selfie of you being eaten by a tiger. And here’s a hint: when someone asks, “Do you think that buffalo will fit in the trunk?” the answer is ALWAYS “NO.”


  1. says

    So there was a wave of unusually cold weather there this last week, so it probably was cold, but…yeah, they’re an animal that has evolved in such a climate; they can generally handle it.

  2. starskeptic says

    It’s possible that this calf had already been rejected by the herd before they found it – but putting it in a car isn’t going to fix that…

    • says

      I considered that. And I was just trying to write out any reason to put a bison in your car… House pet, Wiener schnitzel, artist model, and I got nothin’.

  3. johnson catman says

    People like that really deserve a Darwin award for doing their best to remove their DNA from the human gene pool.

  4. lorn says

    “Do you think that buffalo will fit in the trunk?”

    There ought to be a rule that after a question like that you get a large ‘L’ tattooed on your forehead and you henceforth cannot: drive, vote, operate heavy machinery, or be within three meters of a firearm.