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Grizzlies and wolves share elk meal in Glacier National Park, Montana

Wildlife Viewing Area
A video still of the video as the wolf sneaks up on the adult grizzly and her two cubs. – Video still from USGS remote camera.

Overview of this Wildlife Watching Landscape

A bear research team's remote video camera captured amazing footage of grizzlies and wolves taking turns to dine on an elk carcass in Glacier National Park. At turns aggressive and seemingly playful, the grizzly sow, cubs and a lone wolf were sufficiently tolerant of each other to get their fill over a two-day period. Click on the video, below left, to view this 5 minute footage.

First, the remote camera found a lone wolf feeding on the road-killed carcass early in the morning. Then later that evening, the camera caught footage of an adult grizzly bear and her two cubs feeding on the same carcass, which biologists had moved away from the main road to keep scavengers away from danger.

Early the next morning, the sow and both cubs chuff and bluff charge a wolf, possibly the same one. A grizzly bear will chuff (which sounds almost like a grunt or bark combination) and pop its jaw when it feels threatened. Bluff charging is a common tactic as well, when the bear veers off or stops short at the last second to intimidate and scare off other animals or humans.

The wolf appears to be alone, and several times walks right up to one of the grizzly cubs and nips it on the back. The interaction seems playful, but the grizzly cub does not tolerate this behavior, and also charges the wolf just like the mother. (Footage and comments provided by USGS Northern Divide Bear Project and Glacier National Park. Length: 5 minutes 14 seconds.) The footage was compiled Aug. 10, 2007 in Glacier National Park.

Wildlife Remote is a video series provided by using remote video footage captured by the U.S. Geological Survey as part of a massive grizzly bear census. In addition to fascinating footage of grizzly bears, the remote-sensor cameras captured images of wolverine, wolves, red fox, deer, and pine marten, among other critters.

The video footage of Glacier wildlife in 2005-2007 was taken unbeknownst to the animals. USGS had set up remote cameras in strategic locations suspected to be key wildlife movement zones. Kate's ambitious and successful project developed a DNA-based census of grizzly bears on the Montana side of the Crown of the Continent. Her team captured genetic samples using bait-scented, barbed-wire snag traps and traditional bear rub trees, which sometimes are used by successive generations of bears.

The remote cameras are used by researchers in a few locations to verify whether all bear visitors actually leave a hair sample and to photographically document the behavior of grizzlies and wildlife near hair-capture sites.