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Man who taunted bison in viral video was on national park crime spree, officials say

Man who taunted bison on viral video arrested
Credit: Matthew Brown, AP
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2016 file photo, a herd of bison grazes in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park. A new superintendent was named Wednesday, June 13, 2018, to Yellowstone National Park, one of the crown jewels of the park system, after his predecessor said he was being forced out by the Trump administration following a dispute over bison. Cameron "Cam" Sholly will replace Dan Wenk, who has been superintendent since 2011, according to the Department of Interior. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

A man has been arrested after a video that allegedly shows him taunting a Yellowstone National Park bison went viral this week.

Glacier National Park rangers arrested Raymond Reinke, 55, in the Montana park on Thursday. Reinke was wanted for the incident in Yellowstone and had encountered law enforcement officials in at least three national parks since July 28.

"From the park's perspective, this was absolutely egregious behavior," Morgan Warthin, Yellowstone public affairs officer, said.

Reinke was first arrested by law enforcement on July 28 in Grand Teton National Park for drunk and disorderly conduct. He spent the night in the Teton County Jail and was released on bond.

Rangers then stopped a vehicle on July 31 in Yellowstone for a traffic violation in which Reinke was a passenger. Again, officers reported Reinke seemed to be intoxicated and argumentative. He was cited for not using a seatbelt. During this exchange, Reinke reportedly told rangers he had plans to travel to Glacier National Park next.

The viral video of Reinke harassing a bison in the roadway is believed to have been captured after that traffic stop. 

Reinke was issued a citation requiring a court appearance that same evening before the park was aware of the circulating video.

Yellowstone rangers reported receiving an onslaught of wildlife harassment reports from visitors regarding the incident.

"We're thankful to those who reached out," Warthin said. "When law enforcement saw the video it certainly elevated the situation."

Reinke's bond was revoked per the request of the Assistant U.S. Attorney on Aug. 2 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

While rangers were searching for Reinke's vehicle, officials responded to a call about an incident in Glacier National Park where two guests were reported to be arguing and creating a disturbance in the dining room of the Many Glacier Hotel.

Responding rangers identified one of the guests as Reinke.

Reinke was transported to Helena, Montana, on Thursday night and handed over to Yellowstone rangers. He was then taken to Mammoth Hot Springs and booked in the Yellowstone Jail.

“We appreciate the collaboration of our fellow rangers in Glacier and Grand Teton national parks on this arrest," Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a statement. "Harassing wildlife is illegal in any national park.”  

Reinke was scheduled to make a court appearance on Friday.

Follow Sara Dettmer on Twitter: @GFTrib_SDettmer