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By Tim Stelloh

The tourists believed the baby bison was cold. So during their visit to Yellowstone National Park last week, they "rescued" it — and were then scolded for doing so.

In fact, the National Park Service said Monday, the calf had been rejected by its herd because park visitors wouldn't leave the newborn alone.

Karen Richardson, on a school trip, snapped a photo of the bison calf in its 'rescuers' car. The two men were ticketed May 9 at Yellowstone National Park.Karen Richardson via KECI-TV

The outcome, the service said in a statement, couldn't have been more grim.

"The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway," the statement said.

Pointing to a recent viral video that showed a visitor getting just inches from a bison — and an incident last year when one injured five people — the service issued a reminder: Animals are extremely protective of their young.

Please, the service pleaded, respect the park's rules; remain at least 25 yards from bison, elk and deer; and keep a football field's length between you and a bear or wolf.

"Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival," the statement said.