Considering an elk’s diet mainly consists of grass, leaves, twigs, and other shrubbery, the elk typically doesn’t pose much of a threat to a wolf, let alone a pack of them.
An elk can only defend itself for so long before pack of wolves overcomes the creature, and ultimately can’t fight any longer until the wolves completely overtake it for dinner.
Here we have yet another example of that.
Wildlife photographer Evan Watts captured some wild footage of the Wapiti Lake Wolf Pack slowly mauling a bull elk at Yellowstone National Park’s Hayden Valley back in May.
Although pretty gruesome, this is a wildlife photographer’s dream shoot, and Watts told Field & Stream:
“I was in total shock when it happened. I had spent days on end looking for wolves every morning and every evening before this, hoping to watch them make a kill.
I couldn’t believe what an incredible feat of nature I was witnessing when it happened.”
You can see in the beginning of the footage, the pack of wolves chasing the bull elk into a stream where they take turns gnawing at its hind legs. Outnumbered, overmatched, exhausted and wounded, the elk does all he can to try and escape but loses the will to keep going.
He eventually makes it out of the water, but the slow, painful death is inevitable.
The bull basically surrenders its life, and that’s when things get pretty gnarly.
Yellowstone is not for the faint of heart…
The National Park Service states that there are roughly 30,000 to 40,000 elk in Yellowstone, and roughly 500 wolves. And unfortunately for those elk, they’re at the top of the menu for these wolves who are ferocious and skilled killers.
Hunting in packs with speed, stealth and precision, they make for one of the most deadly and efficient predators in all of North America.
Wolves also can eat up to 20% of their body weight in one sitting, which makes for a pretty sizeable portion of elk… and with 10 or so elk in each pack, that’s a whole lotta elk with a target on their backs.