Tourists say critics don't know the whole story.
By now you've no doubt familiar with the story of the Yellowstone tourists who sparked worldwide outrage when they placed a bison calf in their car. The father and son fell under heavy criticism for their actions when the animal was later euthanized.
They finally spoke out on their own behalf to ABC News about something they no doubt never expected to reach this level of publicity. It's definitely interesting to hear their side of things.
Their side of the story is that they didn't put the calf in the car because it was cold, but because they felt it was abandoned. Shamash told ABC News that in Africa, where he is from, it is the norm to pick up an abandoned animal and take it to the rangers. Unfortunately, not knowing the difference in park policies here in the U.S. has gained these men some infamy.
Of course, it's no surprise that if they had to do it all over again, they'd leave the calf alone. No one will know what the animal's fate may have been had they just left it alone.
It's also worth looking again at footage National Geographic filmed the plight of another bison calf in a similar set of circumstances in the park. That video went viral right before this incident with the tourists. Despite being seemingly abandoned, the calf survived a wolf attack and was reunited with its mother some 24 hours after it got lost in the river.
The calf in the tourist incident's odds were probably pretty slim, but they went to zero the second the door slammed in that SUV.
I'll admit, these men were probably judged a bit too harshly before the full details of this bizarre incident came out. Their hearts were definitely in the right place. But, unfortunately, that's also part of the problem when it comes to people and wildlife these days. People try to do the right thing and it ends up being worse off for the animal in the long run.
Don't give these guys too harsh a time, I think they've been through more than enough at this point. But at the same time, let's hope the National Park Service and other wildlife agencies can use this incident to educate others on what NOT to do when you come across an animal in distress.