Nature isn’t always pretty—most people know that. But if you want to see just how gruesome it can get, take a look at these photos captured in a remote region of the Rocky Mountains.
A British man named Tom Littlejohns was visiting the Crazy Mountains, an isolated range of the Rockies in Central Montana, when he witnessed a nearly 600-pound grizzly take on a pack of wolves, fighting them for the deer carcass they were feasting on.
Littlejohns’ images show a dramatic fight for the half-destroyed deer. When the bear shows up, the wolves do their best to protect their prey, circling the giant grizzly and baring their teeth. But when the bear starts batting its giant paws at them, the wolves quickly take off.
According to Yellowstone’s website, it’s common for the two predators to fight for resources in the nearby national park. When grey wolves were reintroduced to the area through the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction program, the grizzlies adjusted to life alongside a new predator by showing up near wolf dens and taking their kills.
The wolves, which always outnumber the bears, and have been known to take down large animals like bison, can be quite relentless.
“It’s almost like the wolves are the mosquitoes buzzing around the bear’s head…That’s sometimes what happens with grizzlies and wolves. The bear gets near the den, and wolves just annoy the heck out of him,” said Doug Smith, leader of the Yellowstone Wolf project.
Despite the wolves’ efforts, he says that the grizzlies in Yellowstone almost always take the kill.