When grizzly bears and mountain goats go to battle

When grizzly bears and mountain goats go to battle



It’s stating the obvious to point out that the grizzly bear is a formidable beast. Even your average wolf pack, more often than not, thinks twice before engaging one of these big, unruly “silvertips.” And, while in most parts of the continent the bulk of the grizzly’s fare is vegetative, it can be an effective predator on an occasional basis, capable even of bringing down moose and the odd bison.

But attacking large mammals is risky – for grizzlies as for any other carnivore. A few months ago a griz in the Canadian Rockies suffered the consequences of predatory ambition (or desperation) in the form of a defensive counterattack by a mountain goat.

Mountain goats have sharp horns which they use with deadly effectiveness when under threat.
Mountain goats have sharp horns which they use with deadly effectiveness when under threat.

Earlier this year, a hiker in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park came upon a grizzly carcass – a female, or sow, weighing only some 70 kilograms (154 pounds).

A subsequent necropsy revealed stab wounds at the bear’s armpits and throat which Parks Canada attributed to the dagger-like horns of a mountain goat, a band of which was seen in the general vicinity of the dead griz.

The location of those wounds, and the determination that they were received before the bear’s death, suggested a botched predation attempt.

This article by Ethan Shaw was first published by Earth Touch Network on 17 December 2021. Lead Image: Mountain goats have sharp horns which they use with deadly effectiveness when under threat.


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