Visitors to Glacier National Park recently bore witness to this intense, rare encounter – and it’s one fellow Outsiders won’t want to miss!
As spring transitions into summer, many ecosystems experience a scarcity of food – especially for large predators. Such is the case for glorious Glacier National Park and the bears that call it home.
While we humans rarely (if ever) witness both black and grizzly bears in the same vista, GNP is one of the few places we can do so. These remarkable ursines not only share habitat in Glacier, but also compete for food and said habitat as territory within. It’s a wide world out in bear country, however, and the species rarely come to blows. But when someone’s lucky enough to capture footage of such an encounter – it’s always one worth marveling at.
‘Powerful Exit Strategy’ on Display
“Check out this amazing video of grizzly and black bears interacting, from visitor Anthony James (@ajhinds)!” Glacier National Park captions the footage on their official Instagram.
The stand-off, which took place the week of June 15, sees a large grizzly bear chase a far-smaller black bear through the valley until the latter “displays its powerful exit strategy: climbing!”
“Normally agreeable when food is abundant, grizzly and black bears run into one another more often when food is scarce—like early summer,” GNP continues of the encounter.
The park notes first that most grizzlies are “larger and typically stronger than black bears,” before citing that the “short, sharp claws of the black bear are ideal for tree climbing. The grizzly’s longer, duller claws are great for digging, but poor for climbing—especially because an adult grizzly is substantially heavier than a black bear.”
Glacier National Park follower Chris, however, readjusts the park’s caption to: “Both bears’ claws suffice just fine against humans”🤪.”
Watch as Glacier National Park Grizzly Trees a Fleeing Black Bear
Watch the harrowing bear chase for yourself below; a rare and incredible glimpse into “shared bear country”:
Another Glacier National Park follower, Beau, responds with a fitting anecdote for the footage, too:
“I’ve been told this since I was a kid- If you are running from a bear and you climb a tree, the black bear will climb up after you and the grizzly will knock the tree down.”
While both bears are prone to territorial instincts, the grizzly is far more aggressive in protecting its home and offspring. Yet as much as we expect these two species to clash whenever paths cross, just as many remarkable instances of their coexistence exist, too. Blacks and grizzlies will feed together in Yellowstone National Park on rare occasion, and some naturalist have even reported their cubs finding time to wrestle. Before grizzly mom breaks it up to not-so-fun results, of course.
What a world we live in!