Concerned tourists at Yellowstone National Park put a bison in SUV because they thought it was cold pic.twitter.com/7YYHtgbiHa— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) May 15, 2016
The Canadian tourists shamed on social media for putting a baby bison in their SUV have finally broken their silence.
The father and son duo said in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" on Friday that they were shocked by the outrage.
“It was like we didn’t know what we were doing," Shamash Kassam, the father, said. "We picked up the bison because it was shivering. That was not the reason why. We picked up the bison because it was abandoned by the herd.”
“I wasn’t 100 percent sure,” Shakeel, his son, told ABC News when asked if he was hesitant in picking up the animal. “But when I saw the calf outside shaking I thought this was the right thing to do.”
“It would have been either killed by a car or something, or worse been eaten alive," Shamash added.
Shamash was fined $235 and must make a $500 donation to the Yellowstone National Park's wildlife protection fund. He was also ordered not to pick up any more bison.
Two uninformed tourists were ticketed for placing a baby bison inside their car, allegedly to protect it from the cold.
The father and son, visiting Yellowstone National Park, ignored the “Leave No Trace” policy of the reserve over concerns about the health of a small baby bison.
Witness Karen Richardson, who was chaperoning a group of elementary school students, said the two tourists stopped by a ranger station with the calf sitting in their backseat.
“They were demanding to speak with a ranger,” Richardson stated. “They were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying.”
“They didn’t care,” said Rob Heusevelet, a father of a student. “They sincerely thought they were doing a service and helping that calf by trying to save it from the cold.”
Bison have lived in the wild, unaided by humans, for millions of years, but apparently, the pair did not trust Mother Nature to take its course.
The park rangers proved to be much more helpful to the little animal and took it back to where it was stolen from — and in the process, also gave the concerned pair a ticket for violating park policies.
The National Park website very clearly warns people not to approach animals and to stay a minimum of 100 yards from large animals, which includes bison. The visitors, who are foreigners, apparently did not know this rule and hence had to pay a price for their ill-placed kindness.