By Todd Wilkinson
Maybe it’s a baby robin that falls out of a nest in the backyard, or perhaps twin deer fawns left orphaned after their mother gets struck by a car or eaten by wolves, or perchance a bald eagle, behaving strangely, staggering on the ground and unable to fly.
When wild animals appear to be in distress, should human beings intervene to rescue them or is it better to back off and let nature take its course?
Earlier in May, a Canadian tourist captured a wild bison calf with his bare hands and loaded it into his SUV. The man, Shamash Kassam, said he found the animal alone and shivering along the roadside in Yellowstone’s wildlife-rich Lamar Valley. Once he turned it over to rangers, park biologists made several attempts to reunite the youngster with its herd but when the calf was rejected, they euthanized it.
Kassam was fined $110 for violating park regulations, which strictly forbid contact with wildlife, and is supposed to make a court appearance in June. Meanwhile, the incident ignited emotional exchanges on social media ranging from condemnation of the tourist to claims Yellowstone officials responded heartlessly.
Should the bison have been sent to a rehabilitation facility or turned back in its natural environment where it faced a high probability of falling prey to predators or dying from starvation?
Picture: buzzard525 [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons