Grizzly bears are known for their strength and ғᴇʀᴏᴄɪᴛʏ, but a recent encounter in the wilderness of North America has shown just how formidable these creatures can be. In a remarkable display of power and determination, a lone grizzly bear fought off an entire pack of ten wolves, leaving onlookers in awe.
An example of a run-in going in the wolf’s favor was caught on film this past October. Adam Brubaker, who guides in the Greater Yellowstone with his company Tied to Nature, captured the footage in the northern Hayden Valley, a broad basin just about in the heart of Yellowstone National Park.
In a roughly three-minute clip Brubaker posted online, a good-sized grizzly bear is seen eyeing wolves of the large Wapiti Lake Pack in Hayden’s sage-strung grassland.
He bruin rears on its hind legs to nab a better look, then works its way towards the milling-about wolves (to the audible consternation of onlookers watching alongside Brubaker). Once the canids spot the griz, they rush out to confront it. Finding itself surrounded, the grizzly wheels about in a vain attempt to face off the pack, but before too long the darting in-and-out wolves usher the intruder off in a rolling rout. The video ends with the grizzly taking refuge in lodgepole timber, watching the wolves as they cluster together with wagging tails – looking something like a puffed-up football team that came out on top of the scoreboard.
Douglas Smith, Yellowstone National Park senior wildlife biologist and head of the Yellowstone Wolf Program, told East Idaho News that the ravens that can be seen flapping about in Brubaker’s reel suggested there was likely a wolf ᴋɪʟʟ in the vicinity. He suspected the grizzly was attempting to usurp the ᴄᴀʀᴄᴀss. Grizzlies often successfully pirate ᴋɪʟʟs from wolves, but a pack rarely yields without some resistance – wolves will also readily try to sᴛᴇᴀʟ meat from bears.
“The footage depicts ‘classic’ wolf-bear interaction behavior and is not uncommon to the two species,” Smith said in the article. He noted that such encounters tend to be a matchup between the grizzly’s superior strength and the wolves’ superior numbers and speed, but – as in this incident – aren’t often actually violent. Such routines “are almost ‘ritualized’ or perfunctory,” he said. “The wolves – like mosquitos – are harassing the bear out of an area they don’t want it to be.”
For those who witnessed the encounter, the sight of a grizzly bear fighting ten wolves will remain with them for the rest of their lives. It serves as a reminder of the incredible strength and determination that exists in the natural world, and the importance of preserving and protecting these magnificent creatures for future generations.
Watch the full video here: