Watch this hungry gray wolf attack a cow elk by leaping into a fast-flowing river.
A gray wolf makes several attempts to bring down a lone cow elk in a river in Yellowstone National Park. The cow stands her ground in the middle of the river as the wolf anxiously works the shoreline just a few feet from her. The wolf seems very nervous about jumping into the river, which, judging from the season, appears to be swollen with spring snow melt. At one point the canine even moves a long tree branch that seems to be inhibiting easier access to the cow. The big gray grabs hold of the tree and pulls it up the embankment before resuming his position near the elk.
The tape briefly jumps ahead after what we may assume is a failed attempt by the wolf, as it appears further downstream but quickly runs up the opposite side of the river before leaping into the water at the elk. The elk evades the attack as the wolf gets swept downstream again. It climbs the bank and quickly runs back towards the cow, briefly hesitates and then launches from the bank, latching onto the elk’s neck. The excited cow attempts to shake it off, temporarily submerging in the process. Again, somehow, the weakened elk manages to escape.
The final footage reveals what looks to be a victorious wolf at the elk’s throat with the larger ungulate briefly on its side as they both float down the river. But for some reason the wolf loses its position and separates from the cow. The clearly exhausted, and probably injured, cow continues floating downriver, struggling to regain her footing, while the wolf moves off and away from the river.
The tense footage was captured by Boone & Crockett Chief of Staff Tony Schoonen. The video text indicates that the final outcome of the encounter is unknown, but it’s not hard to imagine that the cow elk succumbed to its wounds and exhaustion. It’s also interesting to ponder why both animals were entirely alone during the encounter, as no other wolves or elk herd were in view during the dramatic event.