When you’re driving through the windy, mountainous roads of the Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, there’s typically only two things you have to worry about…
One, car sickness…since the roads are carved out like a snake through the mountains, and two, the wildlife sprinting right out in front of you.
Or in this case, two massive male black bears brawling it out right in front of you.
Growing up in South Carolina, we’ve taken trips to the Smoky Mountains a good bit, and typically the traffic gets backed up from ongoing construction, or a wreck that’s occurred.
With that being said, imagine waiting in a long ass car line for an hour, with several people honking, crying, and gnashing their teeth behind you, and once you realize what the hold up is, it’s two bears letting their testosterone out?
Needless to say, this is not something you see everyday in the least bit.
Of course, it is mating season for black bears at the moment, and these two males are probably trying to establish dominance over the other, fighting for a mate.
According to Smoky Mountain National Park,black bears are the most common bears in the area, with roughly 1,500 located within the Smokies. And if you’ve been to Gatlinburg, you’ve undoubtedly seen one… they’re everywhere.
Mama Bear Tries To Get Her Four Cubs Across The Street
If you have young kids, you get it…
Right now, I only have a 9-month-old who is starting to roll around all over the place, and I feel like this mama bear sometimes trying to keep her contained.
Now, imagine have quadruplets… yikes.
This mama black bear was trying to get across the road up in Winsted, Connecticut, and was just having the battle of a lifetime trying to get all four of her newborn cubs across the road at the same time.
When the others would follow, one would stay. When mama would carry one, the others would follow her back. When the next cub got across the street, another would go back the other way… it went on like that for about 15 minutes according to the woman behind the camera:
“First I thought one baby had been struck by car, came back 15 minutes later to realize mama was simply trying to get all four babies to cross the street, together!
I can relate as a mom of four myself!”
You think parenthood is easier just because you’re a bear? Guess again…
And just wait until a another male shows up to mate next season and these youngsters are still around… male bears have been known to get very aggressive, and sometimes straight up attack cubs when courting their mother.
It’s hard out here for a mama bear…
Grizzly Bear Attacks A Young Male At Yellowstone National Park
Speaking of attacking young cubs…
This bear wasn’t quite a newborn cub, but he was still young enough to be near his mother. Unfortunately, courting adult males don’t take to kindly to other male bears in the area… even if it’s her own son.
According to For The Win, a group of Yellowstone visitors witnessed a young male grizzly bear get viciously attacked by an adult male bear, that was courting his mother.
Not only did the adult male’s attack result in taking the young bear’s life, but the mother attacked him as well, only moments before.
It is believed that the mother, who is well-known as Bear 815 or Obsidian Sow, attacked to try and convince her young, subadult bear to flee before the boar arrived to attack.
The boar, weighing more than 500 pounds, left the three-year-old 148 pound young grizzly with such severe injuries, that the youngster ultimately had to be put down by park staff, as it was clear that he was not going to survive.
Although tourists were in close enough range to witness the attack, it is not believed that their presence was a reason for the attack. It’s not uncommon for adult male grizzlies attempting to court a female to attack young bears or cubs that are nearby, especially other males.
Trent Sizemore, a veteran wildlife photographer from West Yellowstone, Montana, told the outlet:
“The subadult is confirmed to be a male, which is not going to be tolerated by another male in the territory. No humans pushed any of these bears to cause this specific incident.”
Another wildlife photographer on site, Paul Allen, managed to capture various photos of the vicious attack.
But please be warned, they’re not for the faint of heart.
Paul also shared a detailed, and poetic, description of what he witnessed Sunday morning at the park:
“Today, Janet and watched a beautiful sub-adult grizzly picking his way through the grass, digging for grubs or squirrels, just as he had been observed for the past few weeks. His coat shimmered, his gate was easy, and we watched until we’d had our fill.
Just as we turned for the car, two enormous adult grizzlies, a giant male in pursuit of a female who would soon be in estrus, came charging into the scene. I turned my camera toward them, first the big sow, then the huge boar.
For a moment, we stood in awe as three great bears were within our field of vision, and then… she charged the young bear, who for all appearances wasn’t paying attention to the intruders. The huge male followed, brushing her off the young male and sending her tumbling, with a mind set on a single objective: to kill him.
We watched as that was carried out. The very engine that drives evolution, growth, and the preponderance of life on this planet is the two cycle stroke of birth and death. Every life now depends entirely on the death of all that went before. It is as natural as the light of morning chasing away the dark of night.
We were once much more aware of the death that sustains our own lives, but have long since pushed death to the shadows. But what we watched today was not immoral. In a way, I feel reverence for the great bears, because they reminded me of the enormity of their power, that the bears of Yellowstone are no mere circus acts, or captives of roadside menageries.
They are wild, terrible, beautiful, amazing creatures among whom I will tread all the more carefully, for what I witnessed today was, in a word, awesome.”
A humbling reminder that nature is indeed, savage.