How Grizzly Bears Affect the Behavior of Yellowstone’s Wolves

by Amanda Glover

It appears that Grizzly bears are to blame for certain Yellowstone wolf behaviors. Let’s find out how.

According to a recent study, the behavior of wolves towards the animals they kill in Yellowstone National Park changes when there are bears nearby. The research compared the behavior of wolves when brown bears are around in Scandinavia and Yellowstone.

Thanks to an article in Newsweek, the study proved that when Grizzly bears are close to wolves, their behavior changes and triggers their natural ruthless exploits.

The research highlighted how predators such as wolves and bears don’t ignore the presence of other predators when their prey is nearby. However, predators are influenced by each other to catch their prey. The knowledge of competition influences them to work harder to get to their target.

In Yellowstone, Grizzly bears often target fresh wolf kills for food. Apparently, when in the presence of these round fluffy animals, wolves behave differently. However, this all depends on the time of year and the size of the prey.

Therefore, Yellowstone wolves hang around the scene of the crime longer when bears are close by. The study reveals that this behavior is how wolves protect their food against poaching bears. The time in between when a wolf kills their prey also increased in the summertime.

Depending on the size of a Yellowstone wolf’s prey, the length of time the animal stays with the kill varies. These pointy-eared creatures stay with their smaller prey for longer when Grizzly bears are nearby. However, if a wolf’s kill is heavier than 440 pounds, they won’t hang around for as long.

More on How Grizzly Bears Effect the Behavior of Yellowstone’s Wolves

A college in the northern United States shared their fascination with Grizzly bear’s effect on Yellowstone Wolves.

Author Matthew Metz from the University of Montana shared his thoughts on the university’s news website. “Relatively little had been known about how bears affected the foraging dynamics of wolves. Our work starts to fill in the gap by demonstrating that the dynamics do differ and provides another reminder of how changes in ecosystem complexity—in this case, the presence of bears—affects the behavior of other species.”

After the animals were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995, the animals caused domino effects in the ecosystem of the park. Since they made Yellowstone their home, they’ve improved the area’s biodiversity. Three cheers for Grizzly bears!

According to this study, the behavior between these creatures widely depends on the season. Wolves experience more of the presence of bears during summertime in Yellowstone.

Unfortunately, for wolves, the amount of freedom they experience depends on the season. For example, in the wintertime, bears spend much time hibernating. During this time, wolf packs are more likely to roam free without Grizzlies cramping their style.