These wolves have some serious courage.
Wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory recorded this awe-inspiring, first ever footage of a pack of three grey wolves attempting to take on a polar bear in the Canadian Arctic.
Gregory’s team was tracking wolves in Manitoba when they received information about a fearless pack harassing and hunting polar bears in the area. As luck would have it, the crew arrived just in time to witness the pack approaching a snoozing bear.
The team documented the hungry wolves circling the polar bear, cautiously gauging its reaction. The first minutes are intense; the bear does initially seem concerned about the approaching pack. Eventually, however, the bear realizes the pack of just three wolves is lacking in numbers — and it finally makes the move to chase them away.
The foolhardy but fascinating hunting attempt may have been an act of desperation; Because of the vastness of the arctic landscape, these wolves are known to search up to 1,000 square miles for a single meal. The bear could feed the pack for a week, explained Gregory.
Even so, it’s a risky attempt. “That’s a pretty bold move,” he said.
While a larger pack may indeed have been able to take down a polar bear, a small group like this doesn’t stand much of a chance. Polar bears are apex predators weighing up to 1,500 pounds, and can kill with a single swift bite to the skull.
Encounters like this are extremely rare, and had never been documented until now. Generally, confrontations between bears and wolves have more to do with competition over a fresh kill or defending young rather than an attempt to make one another a meal.
Wolves in other regions, like Yellowstone National Park,have been known to kill other species of bear — but usually only those that are very young, old, or weakened.
Watch what happened when a hungry grizzly bear showed up to crash a wolves’ dinner: