Video: Wolf sizes up bear in Canadian grasslands

A unique bear versus wolf encounter was caught of film in the grasslands near Kamloops, B.C.

They often say don’t poke the bear, but clearly this wolf never got the message.

Frank Ritcey, provincial coordinator of WildSafeBC, has seen and captured a lot of wildlife on film over the years, but he has never seen something like this.

“I’ve been filming for a long time, spent a lot of time out in the wild, but I’ve never got to see something like this. This clear,” says Ritcey. “You go out enough times, you get lucky.”

Last week he was hiking in the grasslands near Kamloops with his wife when she noticed a wolf in the field.

He decided to sneak a bit closer to catch the wolf on film when he realized his video was going to be a lot more interesting than he first thought when a smaller black bear walked into frame.

“You are very luck to ever even see a wolf, especially up here, they are very secretive animals that don’t like to be around humans,” says Ritcey.

“So just seeing a wolf was pretty good, but then to see a wolf and a bear together was pretty special.”

Ritcey says the interaction between the bear and wolf was interesting to watch. He says wolves have been known to take on a bear as a pack, but don’t often attempt it one on one.

“A friend of mine who works with National Parks says they have had a number of reports of single wolves trying to attack bears. They’re never successful, but they do do it,” explains Ritcey.

“Animals in the wild are very cautious, the wolf isn’t going to get itself into a battle if it thinks it is going to lose. It is going to check out things.”

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For those who believe the wolf didn’t stand a chance against the bear, Ritcey says you shouldn’t count it out.

“We tend to think of the bear as the apex predator, but a wolf is a very formidable opponent. Wolves, as a pack, will even drag grizzly bears off of kills. They are very agile,” says Ritcey. “Any of us would have been pretty petrified if a bear ran at us, but the wolf knows what its capabilities are. It came, got in closer and closer until the bear swung at, it was testing the bear.”

The wolf is seen in the video above running away to ensure it stays out of reach of the bear before it goes back to check out one more time before deciding it isn’t worth the fight and disappearing into the woods.

“I think the wolf made the decision the odds weren’t good. If the rest of the pack were nearby, it may have turned out differently,” adds Ritcey.

He knew this video was a special one and needed to be shared so he published on the WildSafeBC Facebook page on Sunday.

He says this time of year is a good one for the public to view bears at a safe distance.

“When bears first emerge they primarily eat the fresh green grass,” says Ritcey.

“They are grazers, about 80 per cent of their diet is plant-based. So, anywhere you start to see fresh greenery is where you can see bears. Especially closer to evening and early in the morning.”

Related: Cougar spotted at B.C. hospital

WildSafeBC is a program owned and operated by the BC Conservation Foundation, is designed to help reduce human-wildlife conflict throughout the province.

“The clip has generated a lot of interest, and it helps us get out our message about keeping wildlife wild and communities safe,” adds Ritcey.

“Seeing wildlife behaving in a natural way out in the wilds is great, seeing bears in an urban setting is definitely not so great. Bears in an urban environment create safety concerns for both humans and bears so we try to help communities manage their attractants in a way that keeps bears from being drawn into town in the first place.”

To learn more about WildSafeBC, click here.

Related: B.C. hires 20 more conservation officers

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