VIDEO: Bear Scavenges Unborn Elk Calf From Yellowstone Wolf Kill
October 22, 2020
Nature is as nature does, and it isn't always pretty. Sometimes it can be downright disturbing. But it's also just as the creator or nature made it - if it sometimes looks cruel, it must be because we can't take in the whole design. But even then, let this stand as a warning to you: this video is graphic and disturbing.
It might be disturbing to more sensitive viewers, but it is also a fascinating glimpse of nature in action.
A group of Yellowstone tourists in 2014 noticed a commotion on the side of the road and started, as tourists will do, to film. They noticed a bear attending to a corpse but apparently not eating much of it directly. We were unable to find confirmation, but it seems that the bear had only happened on the corpse, not made the kill itself. As evidenced by the series of dramatic videos of Grizzly 791 defending his kill long after the meat had started to turn, grizzlies can be very territorial about their meat. That makes us think that this is more likely a corpse that the grizzly found unattended, or that he stole it from wolves.
At any rate, the bear opens up the body with his teeth and extracts the unborn calf, which appears to have been close to maturity, if not quite there. The calf, especially if only partially formed, would be much softer than the rest of the adult elk flesh, which may be frozen if in the snow overnight, or toughened by the elements. The bear then takes the unborn calf and absconds with it, likely preferring to eat in peace rather than in the presence of two dozen tourists.
It's a powerful reminder that the circle of life isn't always Disney and Elton John - sometimes it can be hard to watch.
Watch the whole video below, and leave a comment if you've ever seen anything similar!