Wolves are native to the region home to Yellowstone National Park, but for a time these creatures were nowhere to be found in the vast northern landscape of the United States.
It’s well known that bison were nearly eradicated from the Great Plains as settlers marched West in hopes of a better life during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but wolves were another species devastated from the seismic shift in landscape.
The peak of wolf population in the US is unknown but the numbers began to freefall around 1870 and the final surviving wolves in Yellowstone were shot in 1926 by park employees due to a policy of large predator eradication. Some wolves were spotted in the area in the decades that followed but scientist believed they just happened to migrate through the park and didn’t maintain a permanent residence there.
The region remained barren until 1995, when US and Canadian Wildlife officials captured 14 wolves near Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada and transported them south into Yellowstone National Park in January of 1995. 17 additional wolves were brought in from Canada in January of 1996 and the species immediately began stabilizing in their home territory.
Today, the NPS estimated that 108 wolves roam free in the park’s boundaries, living in approximately 10 total packs.
While wolves’ diet typically consists of elk and deer, they occasionally go after bison and one of the modern day packs was videoed doing just that.
An account named Inspire Wild Media created an incredible video which features a ton of phenomenal shots of this wolf pack scouting out a bison herd, choosing one to pick off, and completing the kill. Honesty, it’s one of the best nature videos I’ve ever seen; I’d even put it in the category of short film.
It opens with a great look at the thin line between peace and violence as the pack of wolves rests just a few yards away from the bison herd. Bison live or die by the “safety in numbers” rule, but the wolves are smart enough to get what they want regardless.
As the bison begin moving over the snow covered land, the wolves begin to circle up and come up with a strategy to pick off a straggler.
The video eventually gets to the point of attack, where the pack hones in on a smaller portion of the herd, sections them off, then finds the weakest bison among them for their dinner.
The poor bison seems to realize he’s done for from the jump, although we have seen videos of them delivering a KO shotby mean of their rear hooves, so the battle was far from over.
But when over 20 wolves decide they want to eat you, you’re probably getting eaten.
Despite a valiant effort, the bison is completely overwhelmed and soon falls to the ground and breathes its last breath. The wolves are left with more than enough fresh meat for everyone to get their share.
The entire 7 minutes of this video are absolutely worth watching and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Shoutout to Inspire Wild Media, safe to say I’ll be going down a rabbit hole of their content this weekend.