Grizzly bears and black bears occupy much of the same territory in North America, and the two species are known to be fierce competitors. As the one of the continent’s top predators, grizzlies will even prey on black bears when the proper conditions aline. Grizzly-on-black bear predation isn’t often witnessed by people, and it’s extremely rare to capture it on film. That’s why a recent series of videos out of British Columbia, Canada of a grizzly bear attacking and possibly feeding on a black bear is so stunning to watch. See if for yourself below.
The incident took place on the side of a road near the community of Dawson Creek in British Columbia. It was filmed by a resident of the area named Susan Griffith, who posted it to Facebook on August 31. The black bear in the video appears to be dead as the giant grizzly chomps down on its head, neck, and spine and then drags it up a steep embankment before Griffith slowly drives away.
The video has been viewed more than 50,000 times since Griffith posted it around noon yesterday. “Holy crap!! Do you know if the black bear was hit by a car?” one person asked Griffith in the comment section. “No idea,” she replied. “He definitely was aggressive towards it. It was super uncomfortable to be so close.”
While the video may be shocking, it’s not uncommon for grizzly bears to hunt, kill, and eat black bears in areas where their territories overlap. Four years ago, a similar incident was captured on film by a father-son hunting team near Whitecourt, Alberta, which is about 250 miles southeast of Dawson Springs. In that video, a big grizzly is seen digging black bear cubs out of underground den.
“People may feel bad about this situation. They may feel sorry for the black bear cub that got caught,” former Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dr. Chris Servheen told F&S in a 2022 article about that video. “But the grizzly is killing these black bears for a purpose. He’s going to kill them and consume them. Nature has a process, and predation is part of that process.”
It’s not clear if the grizzly in Griffith’s video actually killed the black bear it was chewing on or just happened upon it after it was already dead. According to Servheen, grizzlies have a hard time hunting down and eating healthy adult black bears due to the smaller species’ speed and its ability to climb trees. They usually prey on black bears in specific situations where they’re easier to overtake, like cubs holed up in a den. Or, in the more recent case, a dead bear on the side of the road.