Carnivore interactions: Grizzly bear feeding on black bear

Grizzly bear eats black bear on popular Banff hiking trail

Grizzly bear No. 122 feeds on a moose carcass in April. The 225- to 275-kilogram bear completely consumed a black bear in Banff National Park last week.

A large male grizzly bear is showing everyone who’s boss in the mountain parks.

Earlier this month, officials closed the Sundance Canyon area in Banff National Park after a group of hikers came upon a bear known as No. 122 feeding on a carcass. They reopened the trail late Tuesday after he moved on.

During the investigation into the incident, officials determined the carcass was a small black bear.

“It had been completely consumed,” said Steve Michel, a human wildlife conflict specialist with Banff National Park. “There was nothing remaining other than a skull, a hide, the four paws and some bones.”

It’s believed it was a predatory attack on the black bear.

“There were indications the black bear was foraging on the trail at the time,” he said. “It looks like that black bear just happened to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when a very large grizzly bear came by.”

Michel said he didn’t expect there was much of a fight.

“This is grizzly bear No. 122, so he’s a very large grizzly bear,” he said, noting it’s a 225- to 275-kilogram grizzly bear killing a 45-kilogram black bear. “I don’t think there would have been much of a brawl that took place.

“It would have been fairly quick.”

Although it’s not a common occurrence, Michel said there are other documented cases of grizzly bears feeding on black bears — including No. 122 eating another small black bear around the same time last year.

“He’s definitely the dominant animal out on the landscape, so there are very few animals that would compare against him in terms of size,” he said.


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  1. Pingback: Defend Black Bears’ Wetlands | Sunset Daily

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