Grizzly Bear Mauls Black Bear in Rare Footage — But Not Rare Event

Predatory encounters can take many shapes. One recent incident, caught on video in British Columbia, has generated broad interest and raised a few questions.

In it, an adult grizzly bear bites and mauls a dead or dying black bear on a hillside. “Definitely one of the craziest things we have seen on a drive home,” the amateur videographer asserted in the caption.

An inter-species predation between bears may be unusual to witness, but it’s not all that uncommon, according to expert consultation.

Chris Servheen is co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) North American Bears Expert Team. “It is normal and not uncommon for a grizzly bear to kill and eat a black bear,” he told ExplorersWeb.

Animosity between the species can flare, he advised. And when it does, it usually doesn’t work out well for the smaller, less lethal black bears.

For this reason, he said, black bears are usually “pretty careful” around grizzlies. But there are instances where they overstep their boundaries.

In Servheen’s opinion, it’s likely that the video shows a kill — not a scavenging event. He acknowledged that it’s impossible to say for certain, but did point out that the black bear did not show rigor mortis. It’s either still clinging to life or freshly dead.

“The grizzly is [acting] pretty aggressive with the black bear so I assume it attacked and killed it,” he said.

Cannibalism — just another day in the life of a grizzly bear. In fact, that’s what it would be for a wide range of non-human animal species.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.