Bison Herd Fends Off Bears & Wolves During “Bison Funeral” At Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone bison

Nature is incredible.

It’s so easy to take it for granted, under-appreciate it, and perhaps even easier… be completely ignorant of the way it works.

However, if there is one place where you can gain a ton of knowledge, and even first-hand experience about North American wildlife, it’s Yellowstone National Park.

Exhibit A: Bison funerals.

Did you know that bison herds often times hold a “funeral” of sorts whenever a member of the herd passes away? It’s quite the spectacle.

However, it’s not exactly the peaceful, yet melancholy event that out funerals usually are. With the number of predators present in Yellowstone, it becomes more about protection as their way to honor the dead.

According to For The Win Outdoors, one of these “bison funerals” took place recently in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.

Wildlife photographer Julie Argyle explained the situation with a Facebook post:

“When a bison dies in Yellowstone, most of the time the herd that’s in the area will come to pay their respects and surround the dead bison and protect it for hours.

This was definitely the case the other day. As you can see in the video, wolves tried to come in and were chased away several times and two grizzly bears also tried to come in.

None of them were allowed to get close to the dead bison until hours after it happened.

Nature has an incredible way in life and death. “

In the video, you can see the bears and wolves gathering around the carcass, just waiting for the chance to dive into some of that tasty bison meat.

But not on this herd’s watch.

You can see the bison form a circle around the dead, with the outer bison running the predators away.

With the bison potentially weighing up to 2,000 pounds, they can easily overpower the wolves, whose hunting skills, especially in a pack, are second to none.

Even the two grizzly bears in the area decided they didn’t want any of that smoke as they cautiously made their way closer and closer to the bison and got ran off as well.

Will they eventually get to chow down on the bison carcass? Yeah, if they’re patient enough. However, watching the bison herd pay their respects to the fallen by circling up and protecting their late friend is such an incredible natural phenomenon to witness in real life.

Julie also added that she wasn’t sure how long the “funeral” lasted since a storm came through and she was forced to leave, but make no mistake, these bison keep an eye on their fallen herd member for quite a while.

Nature, man… it’s just incredible.

If you haven’t booked that trip to Yellowstone yet, what are you waiting for?

Also, if you love wildlife photography, Julie’s work is fantastic:

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