Grizzly Bear Fends Off Massive Wolf Pack Over Elk Carcass in Wild Video From Yellowstone National Park

by Jon D. B.
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Wild footage from Yellowstone National Park shows a wolf pack, at least a dozen strong, taking on a grizzly bear over an elk carcass.

The video, which was filmed on October 15, 2021, has since gone viral, and for good reason. Within, a Yellowstone visitor (to the Wyoming section of the park) films as “10 plus Junction pack Wolves” fight a grizzly bear over “pieces of elk carcass.”

According to the videographer, “There was butt nipping and paw swiping but no injuries. Looked like they had done this before.”

That they have. Grizzlies and wolves contend for the same prey in Yellowstone National Park. These two apex predators share the same hunting grounds in America’s first national park, but there is safety in numbers.

Grizzlies adults are solitary and fiercely territorial. Encountering another bear (either black or brown) is not a cause for celebration, and often leads to a showdown. Gray wolves, however, are highly social and depend on their pack for survival. And when it comes to fending off a bear, their numbers make up for what they lack in size (comparatively).

Most gray wolf packs range from 5 to 10 members. But as this footage shows, packs can balloon to a dozen or more. Gray wolf packs have even been documented at 30+ strong. These large packs are unmanageable, however, and typically splinter off into factions.

Apex Predator vs Apex Predator

In this Yellowstone example, a solid dozen or so gray wolves take the grizzly bear head-on. Utilizing their intelligence and strategic nature from the get-go, the wolves form a circle around the grizzly; yipping and nipping at the giant in an attempt to scare off the bruin.

If they succeed, the bear drops the carcass and they feed. But no wolf is ever overly-eager to take on an adult grizzly bear. As each wolf comes in to try and deter the bruin, they quickly back off to avoid being bitten or swiped themselves. One blow from a grizzly is enough to kill a wolf, and they know it.

Watch the Grizzly Bear Take on a Massive Pack of Yellowstone Wolves

Occurred on October 15, 2021 / Yellowstone, Wyoming, USA “On October 15, 2021, while in Yellowstone for a week, we made a video of 10 plus Junction Pack Wolves fighting with a Grizzly Bear over pieces of Elk carcass. There was butt nipping and paw swiping but no injuries. Looked like they had done this before.”

The goal, instead, is to scare the bear off with their numbers, then feed on the discarded elk carcass. It’s a tactic that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

Unfortunately, the video cuts short of showing the outcome. But we can see, at least, that this is one determined grizzly bear who isn’t interested in giving up a meal to a pack of ravenous wolves.

For more on the park’s most beloved species, see our Yellowstone National Park Wildlife: Animals You’ll Spot, Where to Best View Bison, Bears, Elk, Wolves, and Wildlife Safety next.

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