Here’s something you don’t see every day. In March of 2021, a group of tourists at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee stumbled upon a scene worthy of a National Geographic documentary: A black bear attempting to take down a fully grown feral hog.
Philip Talbot, an outdoorsman from Satsuma, Alabama, recorded the incident and shared it in a YouTube video. The video begins with the black bear trying to drag a snorting and squealing porker up the side of an embankment next to a road. The hog is nearly as large as the bear—but the bruin latches firmly onto the pig’s next and keeps it from escaping.
“This is unbelievable,” an onlooker can be heard saying in the video. “This is crazy!”
Talbot told the Charlotte Observer that he encountered the wild scene at the end of a day touring the park while driving back toward Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Traffic came to a standstill as the critters tussled. “We thought it was a bear with a cub until we got close,” he said.
The battle drags out for the entirety of the the 10-minute-long video. The bear continues savaging the hog and incapacitates it but is unable to make a clean kill. At the end of the footage, the bear leaves the hog and runs up the hill, clearly spooked by the human onlookers. Talbot speculated that once folks left, the bear would go back for the hog, which appears to be paralyzed.
The Smokies are home to approximately 1,900 black bears. Bears over 600 pounds have been documented in the park, though most of the omnivores are between 100 and 250 pounds.
According to the National Park Service (NPS), “European wild hogs” are “one of the most direct threats to the black bears” in the park. “These pervasive intruders feed on the acorns and other foods that are mainstays of bear diets,” explains the NPS.
This video, though, is proof that one of the park’s native bears turned the tables on at least one invasive hog—which are found throughout the U.S. and even in Canada. The footage may be brutal, but ultimately, it’s a win for native wildlife and begs the question: Are black bears successfully feeding on feral hogs elsewhere?