BREAKING: Canadian Man Pleads Guilty To Picking Up Bison Calf
The Canadian man who picked up a Yellowstone National Park bison calf that was later euthanized pleaded guilty to a wildlife violation charge in federal court on Thursday.
Quebec resident Shamash Kassam, who waived his right to an attorney, entered his plea by telephone and provided signed documents to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the federal courthouse in Mammoth, YNP, according to court records.
Carman sentenced Kassam to six months unsupervised probation.
Carman also ordered him to a $200 fine, $500 in community service to the Yellowstone Park Foundation Wildlife Protection Fund, a special assessment of $10, and a $25 processing fee.
The special conditions included, "obey all laws, pay all monetary penalties by October 31, 2016, shall not pick up anymore bison," according to court records.
The case began 8:10 p.m. Monday, May 9, when a ranger received at call from Yellowstone Dispatch which reported a visitor at the Buffalo Ranch had picked up a bison calf from the road.
Kassam told officials he saw the shivering bison in the middle of the road, and it would not leave his SUV. He waited for the herd to return to reclaim it, but after 20 minutes he put it in his vehicle because he was afraid it would die. He drove to the Buffalo Ranch and called for assistance, according to the officer’s statement.
The ranger told Kassam that bison and their calves are wild animals. People in the park are not allowed to intervene with wildlife including touching, disturbing or feeding them.
By removing the calf, Kassam was preventing the mother from finding it and possibly altering its ability to survive in the wild, the officer wrote. “Kassam stated that he understood what he did was wrong and he would never pick up or disturb any wildlife again, and instead would wait at the scene and call for law enforcement."
The calf was released into a nearby herd. But it was not reunited with the herd and had to be euthanized.
Later that week, four men from a British Columbia violated park rules by walking off a boardwark and on to the delicate bacterial mat of the Grand Prismatic Spring near Mammoth.
Those men, with a clothing company called High of Life SundayFundayz, were charged with two counts and if convicted could be sent to jail for six months and fined $5,000 each. They are presumed to have returned to Canada.
The incidents drew international attention and renewed debate over people's behavior in national parks.