This brazen bear made a cumbersome attempt to hunt a huge herd of Elk in an unusual and rare encounter.
In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, wildlife photographer Deby Dixon was observing a large herd of elk gathering and grazing at the foot of Hayden Valley, before the feast was suddenly interrupted by an unsuspected guest.
Spotting a huge grizzly bear clumsily bounding its way down the hillside, Deby reached for her camera to capture the shamelessly un-stealthy pursuit on camera.
With their diets largely consisting of nuts, roots, fish, and small mammals – such as squirrels, it’s considered very unusual for a bear to attempt to hunt such a large creature, particularly in such a vast quantity and in an open space.
Most likely trying to target one of the many calves among the herd of elk, the grizzly makes a number of ferocious dashes towards flock, but – after a number of close calls – eventually comes away empty handed.
Feeling lucky to have witnessed such a tense encounter on June 21, Deby, a retired police officer, said: “Grizzles are normally opportunistic feeders, often following wolves around, waiting for them to make a kill, then stealing it.
“The calves they kill are usually bedded and they pounce on them.
“But, for the most part, we don’t see the grizzlies expending a lot of energy on the actual killing.
“This bear pursed the elk several times, which I thought was amazing.
“I’ve only ever seen a bear hunt elk once before and that wasn’t a very persistent pursuit.
“At first, the chase seemed ridiculous – I thought the bear would never catch up.
“But when I saw the mothers run away with their calves, it was clear to see the grizzly could easily captured one of the calves, because they were slow and clumsy.
“This was quite a dramatic event and it was amazing to see.
“We only see a fraction of wildlife encounters, so getting to witness this at all was a gift.
“I’m fascinated by wildlife and every year I see something new.”