Frank Ritcey, the coordinator of wildlife education program Wildsafe BC, was off-duty when he came across an unusual sight: a wolf that seemed to be stalking and sizing up a black bear.
Ritcey was on a hike near Kamloops, B.C., when he saw the wolf moving through a field nearby. At first he thought it was scanning in the grass for mice, but when it approached a large black bear nearby, he realized it had much larger ambitions. Thankfully, Ritcey had his camera, and he took a video that shows the interaction between the two animals.
“To be able to see it, and have the camera with me at the time, I was pretty stoked,” Ritcey told the CBC, where he also works as a columnist for the show North by Northwest.
The video shows two animals who seem to be taking stock of one another, with some minor scuffling, but what’s happening beneath the surface is much more fraught. Ritcey believes the wolf was testing the bear for weakness, trying to decide if it was worth attacking.
“The bear was interested in feeding and the wolf was interested in testing the bear—if there had been an opening, it is likely that the wolf would have attacked,” the video’s caption reads. “Normally wolves attack larger prey only as a pack, but they are opportunistic and will exploit a weakness when it presents itself.”
Ritcey told the CBC he believed the wolf was trying to bite the bear’s hamstrings, to injure and incapacitate it.
The bear, however, was ready to defend itself, and several times ran the wolf off when it got too close. By the video’s end, the wolf gave up and wandered off into the field.
Ritcey said that when the wolf and bear were walking alongside one another, it was “just like something out of The Jungle Book.”
“But I know that isn’t The Jungle Book down there, it’s real nature, and wolves do eat bears.”