Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Man pleads guilty in Yellowstone wildlife abuse case

Let this be a reminder to leave wildlife in National Parks alone, and in other natural areas as well. Not only can it harm the wildlife, but, as in the situation below, it can land you in legal trouble.

Clifford Walters of Hawaii pleaded guilty to one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife on May 31 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie A. Hambrick. Walters was charged a $500 fine, a $500 Community Service payment to Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund, a $30 special assessment, and a $10 processing fee.

According to the violation notice, on May 20, 2023, Walters approached a struggling newborn bison calf in Lamar Valley near the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek. The calf had been separated from its mother when the herd crossed the Lamar River. As the calf struggled, the man pushed the calf up from the river and onto the roadway. Walters later stated, “This was an act of compassion. I really did not think that it would be a crime to save the baby bison. The event happened so quickly, I acted from my heart.”

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. The calf was later euthanized by park staff because it was abandoned by the herd and becoming a hazard on the roadway. There was nothing in the report that revealed Mr. Walters acted maliciously.

In a news release, Yellowstone officials reminded the public that approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival. Park regulations require that people 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.



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Sally Harnish (@guest_238890)
5 months ago

The fines and other retribution needs to be so much higher. The situation gets worse every summer in National Parks. Folks think they are at Lego Land, Disney World, etc. Also when the person is fined and or has been suspended from a National Park, while naming the state they are from, also release the hometown. A little public humiliation does wonders.

Conni (@guest_238823)
5 months ago

“Walters was charged a $500 fine, a $500 Community Service payment to Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund, a $30 special assessment, and a $10 processing fee.” That’s all? Should have been more, no wonder you have idiots approaching animals in parks, the punishment isn’t bad enough to stop them in their quest for the next like on Facebook.

Diane McGovern
5 months ago
Reply to  Conni

Hi, Conni. Here is an article I ran across last night that explains this in more detail. Right or wrong, I’m tending to understand Mr. Walters’ actions. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse (@guest_238776)
5 months ago

don’t tell me there is not a rescue group that would have taken the calf. The calf would have died either way. Yes the guy violated rules but the fine(s) seem excessive

Lorelei (@guest_238773)
5 months ago

The guy was dumb but trying to help. They could have found a home for the little guy, there is no excuse for killing it.

Gary Yoder (@guest_238738)
5 months ago

Don’t seem quite right, I’m no animal expert but I have to wonder why they didn’t put a little more effort into finding a rehilbitation facility to give the calf a chance to reach adulthood. God’s creatures of any type large and small deserve a fighting chance to survive, and I just don’t think this one was given that chance, so sad.

Larry Lee (@guest_238726)
5 months ago

It does not appear to me that his actions resulted in the calf’s demise. The herd had ALREADY abandoned the calf. His actions only delayed the animal’s death.
And did the Rangers even consider placing the calf up for adoption/placement elsewhere instead of killing it?

Rodney Lacy (@guest_238718)
5 months ago

What would have happened to it if he had not. Drown? Die anyway? Sounds like a money grab to me. Article doesn’t say.

TJ Miller (@guest_238701)
5 months ago

They should have fined him $50,000, not $500

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