elk calf
Credit: Daniel Bradford/Instagram

Grizzly Bear Chasing Down Baby Elk Horrifies Grand Teton Visitors

"Don't get that baby," pleads one woman.

"Don't get that baby," pleads a woman with an Australian accent while watching a grizzly bear chase after an elk calf in Grand Teton National Park.  She and others watched with concern the entire minute-long scene, which was all caught on camera.

Daniel Bradford, the wildlife guide who shared the video this week, called it "a crazy scene," referring to the successful grizzly hunt. "My client was having a moment so enjoy the audio of someone who was not prepared to watch an elk calf get eaten which was completely understandable," he wrote in the video's caption.


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At the start of the video, a cow elk runs through the frame and you quickly notice the grizzly behind it. As the cow elk runs out of frame, its calf zigs, and then the bear zeroes in on it and follows as it zags. At that point, you hear the woman make an audible gasp as if she realizes for the first time that the hungry bear intends to kill and eat the calf. "Oh, baby. Don't get that baby. No," she says.

For a moment, the calf leads the bear behind some trees and for a few seconds, you might think that it's all over. But then an adult elk runs out along with the calf. "It's still going," someone says. But then the calf falls as the bear tackles it. "He got it," someone else says.

Grizzly bears eat elk calves

According to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, researchers studying grizzly bear behavior say grizzlies deliberately prey on elk calves, which are typically born in June. In one study, researchers observed bears attacking calves on 60 occasions, with 29 confirmed kills. In one case, a single bear caught five calves within 15 minutes. The reason, researchers say, is because calves are easy prey and plentiful.

In another study by the USGS, researchers studying elk in Yellowstone found that 69% of calves die within the first year of life. The cause? Grizzlies kill 60% of the ones that die while wolves kill 17%. Additionally, 95% of the deaths occur during the summer, meaning most don't even live beyond four months.