Late last month, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) posted a trail camera video to Facebook showing a large brown bear going head-to-head with a cow moose while a wolf chased after the mother moose’s calf. In the remarkable 30-second clip, shared by the ADF&G’s Southeast Division, bear and wolf almost appear to be working in tandem in their simultaneous attacks on the cow and calf pair. See it for yourself below.
When the moose sees the bear, it instantly charges the big bruin with its front hooves flailing. Smashing down on the predator’s head with its powerful front legs, the moose seems to be holding its own. Then a wolf emerges from the darkness behind the bear and sprints toward the cow’s more vulnerable calf.
“Prey and predators collide in this trail camera clip captured by remote camera near Gustavus in Glacier Bay National Park during an ADF&G wolf predation study,” the state fish and game agency wrote in its Aug. 28 Facebook post. “This camera was perfectly positioned along a popular animal travel corridor, giving us a front-row seat to Mother Nature’s drama.”
The footage is dramatic indeed, but it’s not clear how the altercation unfolded after the short clip cut out. Moose are formidable adversaries, even for the largest of large carnivores. But, as we’ve already seen multiple times this year, adult brown bears are perfectly capable of killing an adult moose in a head-to-head interaction. As for the wolf, it’s likely that some of its pack members were waiting in the wings, outside the frame of the trail camera, to help it take down and finish off the calf—if the moose was unable to ward them off as well.
Glacier Bay National Park encompasses some 3 million acres of wild terrain with temperate rains forests, deep fjords, and rugged coastline. According to ADF&G, brown bears began repopulating the Gustavus area—where this video was filmed—around 2012, after a 50 year absence. A recent study on Gustavus-area wolf packs shows that, while the coastal canines go after moose and other ungulates when they can, they prefer to dine on sea otters.