An enormous Yellowstone Grizzly bear continues to ferociously protect his kill while tourists are flocking to the National Park to see him in action.
Earlier this week, Yellowstone visitors were witness to a Grizzly bear attacking a massive bull elk in Yellowstone River. While the bear eventually wins their titanic struggle, it is an impressive effort by both.
Now the same Grizzly is making headlines for what comes next – defending his kill.
Yellowstone Grizzly Bear #791
Known as “791” to Yellowstone Park officials, the huge male is an undeniable presence in the park. It turns out, one talented photographer is responsible for the continuing buzz around 791.
“Don’t even think about taking one bite!” the photographer captions her stunning photo. Deby Dixon, a writer and photographer associated with Yellowstone, explains the bear’s pose and surroundings in detail. “He didn’t get that big by being a dummy!” she exclaims. Judging by her side of the encounter – she’s right, too:
This bear is very methodical about eating his meals. First of all, he dug up the entire river bank and pulled the dirt over the top of the elk, leaving only his front end exposed. He piled the dirt up high enough to make himself a sleeping platform over the elk, where he spends his time resting after a meal.
When 791 is ready to eat, he just gets up and starts carefully pulling the dirt away from his meal – it is almost like he is taking a brush and sweeping the elk clean. This is all thoughtful and deliberate and he does not appear to be in any hurry. On this particular day, he pulled up the bull’s broken left rear leg and the bottom half was absolutely dangling, only connected by muscle and skin. It is amazing that the elk could run into the river at all. Once finished eating, 791 re-covers the food. This will help keep the odor down so other predators don’t smell dinner as easily.
He didn’t get that big by being a dummy!Deby’s Wild World
Yellowstone bull elk was injured to begin with
According to Dixon’s breakdown, the previous encounter went the way it did due to the elk having a broken hind leg. A Yellowstone wildlife expert, she notes that a healthy elk would’ve been able to swim across the river to escape without issue.
It’s also unusual for a Grizzly to attack such a large male elk if it is healthy. Knowing that this one was sporting a broken leg during the intense footage, however, makes a lot more sense in hindsight.
Regardless, this result of the encounter makes for an incredible story – and an even more incredible photo.
[H/T Deby’s Wild World]