A cow elk rushes to her calf's cries of distress as a small bear attacks it. She takes the attack to the bear as the bruin swipes at her defenseless calf.
A small blond bear is intent on making a meal of an elk calf, but the mother of the calf is fearless in her determination to protect her baby. The bear attacks the calf, and its cries ring through the forest. This is all the cow elk needs to hear to come running through the forest with a mother's protective instinct.
Shannon Seville filmed this scene in Flagstaff, Arizona. Seville says, "I can't believe I rolled up on this...!"
It seems that the mother elk had left her calf hidden, but the bear had found it and took a swipe at it. This alerted the mother, who may have been trying to lure the bear away. She came running back to defend her calf, but was understandably cautious in approaching the bear.
So she quickly kicks at the bruin and runs through him. Fortunately the bear was a small one, and it too didn't seem to quite know what to do with the small calf.
Finally the calf gets up and trots off on wobbly legs, with the mother close behind. The bear seemed unsure - maybe that elk kick gave him pause - but followed the pair, at least for a short distance.
Never get between a mother critter and her baby. We're happy you came upon this scene, Shannon, and had the presence of mind to get it on film.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.