This video can be entered into the evidence file for “domestic dogs definitely evolved from wild wolves.”
The behavior this wolf shows is the same that your pet dog would exhibit if you had its favorite chew toy.
However, this bear doesn’t have a chew toy, but rather is “chewing” on a dead animal carcass that it retrieved from the water.
Now that the weather is starting to warm up, a number of tourists, locals, hikers, and photographers are heading back to the great Yellowstone National Park to observe the wildlife that is waking from its winter slumber.
And wildlife photographer Trevor LaClair just happened to be in the right place at the right time to catch all of this on camera. LaClair runs a website called Trekking With Trevor, and posted the video of this playful wolf interacting with the grizzly on the website’s Instagram account.
LaClair describes the process of how they stumbled upon the nature scene in the post’s caption, stating:
“During an early morning drive in Yellowstone, we stopped at a nearby carcass that had a grizzly bear on it. As we grabbed out cameras to get into position, a distant howl echoed across the valley.
I was ecstatic knowing that there were wolves nearby. While photographing the bear, I noticed a single black wolf trotted down the hill toward the bear. Three more soon appeared. Two of the wolves approached the grizzly, hoping to get a taste of the carcass the bear pulled out of the frozen pond.”
That must’ve been an incredible experience to witness the wolves moving in on the grizzly bear grubbing. One might have thought that the wolves would get violent trying to take the carcass away from the bear, but it turns out it was quite the opposite.
LaClair describes that an initial approach by one of the wolves was countered by the bear lunging after it. The playful wolf must have seen that and said “hold on, I got this.”
That is where the video picks up, as the wolf is playfully bouncing around in an effort to distract or lure the bear away from the meat. Or, who knows, maybe the wolf was in a good mood and wanted to play a friendly game of tag with the massive bear.
The wildlife photographer went on to describe the incident:
“One of the wolves got too close and the bear lunged at it as a warning. However, the wolf viewed it as an opportunity to lure the bear away and began play bowing and bouncing around.
This was the cutest and best thing I have ever seen. It was hard not to laugh at this interaction.”
I can confirm that the wolf “messing around” with the bear was indeed “cute.” I have to remind myself that under the right circumstances, that wolf could tear me apart.
However, this one might be a little different from all the other wild wolves based on its lighthearted approach with the grizzly (and the fact that it is wagging its tail the whole time). It honestly looks like the wolf doesn’t care if it gets any of the carcass at all. I think its just happy to be there and is living its best life.
Though the video doesn’t show it, the bear eventually abandons the carcass and the two wolves began to dig in on what was left of the scraps.
The captions goes on to say:
“After a while, the grey wolf gave up and laid down nearby, waiting patiently for a piece of meat., looking like it was pouting. Eventually, the grizzly left and two of the wolves tugged at the remaining carcass. We continued to watch for a couple hours until the wolves trotted away.
This was the best wolf sighting I have ever received during all my years of guiding in the park. I was so happy to be gifted with this experience! That wolf definitely left me with a huge grin on my face. Nature is awesome!”
Of course, wolves generally hunt in packs, and will utilize their strength in numbers as much as possible to get food for the rest of the group. That means sending one particularly rambunctious wolf into pester the bear into a chase while the others can get some meat, and then most likely switch.
This bear however was smart enough to keep his eye on the prize knowing that no wolf really wants to tangle with a big grizz… one swipe of the paw could be game over for even a predator as ferocious as a wolf.
Nature is often times awesome, especially when we humans are lucky enough to witness encounters such as this one.
Take a look: