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Life and death in Yellowstone


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During our stay in Yellowstone, on the 2nd June, we were witness to something extraodinary. We first watched a newborn elk only minutes old taking it's first tentative steps at Elk Creek.



P6020265 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


We went on to Hell Roaring where a crowd had already gathered to watch two black bears. Before we arrived, one had apparently been taking a dip in the pond on the other side of the road. When we arrived, they were in the trees on the other side of the road and rangers were there directing traffic. We were told the bears looked like they were going to cross the road. At first we only saw the one bear, who seemed content ambling about eating grass:



P6030488 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr



P6030496 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


But then, all hell broke loose! One of the bears must have seen or smelled the baby elk and like a shot, she was after it! :o The elk screamed and tried to get away, but after a short chase the fawn was downed.



P6030515 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


The fawn was crying as it was dragged a short distance by it's captor. Then a second larger bear appeared, set on stealing the prize for himself. In the confusion the terrified baby elk tried to make a break for freedom. But alas, there was no happy ending for this fawn.



P6030522 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


The larger bear brought the elk to a fallen tree where he left it splayed over the log like some butcher's counter. He seemed to be trying to decide whether to have rump or sirloin..



P6030529 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


He almost appeared to lose interest in the fawn for a brief moment.



P6030533 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


But then the bear grabbed it by the neck and dragged it away to a more secluded spot.



P6030536 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


The elk was still mewling pitifully as it was dragged through the trees.



P6030539 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


Finally, mercifully, after what seemed like an age the squealing stopped as the bear devoured it's meal.


He finally crossed the road after eating his fill, meanwhile two other black bears were still lurking in the trees:



P6030547 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

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Quite an exciting sequence! I've been to Yellowstone a few times, and the only kills I've seen were coyotes catching rodents in very tall grass. Never something like a bear. I've seen bears catch and eat berries, but that's about it.


Did you happen to check out the Fishing Bridge area for grizzlies fishing? Spring is supposed to be a good time for that as the snow and ice melts and cutthroat trout start to leave the lake to spawn.

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Game Warden

Wow, that is some sighting. Rare too. Not many people will have seen something like this.

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Great sighting Kittykat. Agree with Pangolin here, have been to Y'stone and have seen a lot of "bear jams" where you see the lazy ones munchin' on grass and berries. This sure is rare and exciting.

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Thanks all we also saw wolves attacking a coyote den, killing their pups :( and they then went on and caught another baby elk. This was through the scope though so no chance of decent pictures.

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You witnessed some amazing, if not violent, encounters in Yellowstone. The pictures illustrate what you must have been feeling during the attack of the bears on the elk. Was this an individual trip or was it guided?

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It was just a self drive self guided thing :)

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