How many wolves to kill a bear?

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elkhunter123456
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How many wolves to kill a bear?

Post by elkhunter123456 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:51 pm

I was wondering how many wolves to kill a full grown grizzley?
prey:
hare
beaver
mule deer
elk
moose
competitors:
raven
eagle
fox
coyote
wolf
cougar
bear

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Dinoman9877
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Re: How many wolves to kill a bear?

Post by Dinoman9877 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:52 am

There's no real answer to this because predators rarely fight to the death. In fact, wolves are unusual amongst carnivores because, in Yellowstone at least, they are actually responsible for the death of other wolves more than any other factor. No other carnivores have been documented to cause as many deaths, as far as actual combat goes. It's not unknown for them to kill offspring that's not their own though.

In the same vein, wolves and grizzlies rarely kill each other. Neither side has anything to gain from an all out brawl, even if the grizzly is a female with cubs.

There's multiple factors for it, but the main consideration is risk of injury and energy expenditure versus the amount of energy they'll gain back. Apex predators simply aren't a nutritious meal source, and the energy expended to kill something as powerful as a full grown grizzly would not be worth what the wolves will get back.

Technically even a single wolf could kill a grizzly if it fought long enough and was skilled enough to avoid major injury that would bring it down...but there's no easy way to say how many it would take because encounters almost never end in death.

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Re: How many wolves to kill a bear?

Post by Koa » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:02 am

According to Mech (1981), wolves sometimes kill bears, but likely only young, old, or otherwise weakened bears.
https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/bearwolves.htm (working on finding the original study)
Of the 108 reported interactions between brown bears and wolves (excluding those in YNP), the most common types involved bears and wolves fighting and chasing each other (24o/o) and bears defending kill sites against wolf packs (see table 10.1). ... At feeding sites (i.e., kills that could have been made by either species), bears won all (22) of the en-counters. Near wolf dens, wolves frequently won. In 3 of the 108 cases, wolves killed bears, and in 2 others, vice versa; most such mortal interactions occurred at feeding sites (see table 10.1). Wolf-bear encounters can be quite aggressive and may last for several hours ...

The most common interactions between wolves and brown bears in YNP involved wolves and bears simply being in the same area (34%), followed by bears de-fending kills from wolves (19%; probably wolf kills usurped by bears) and bears usurping wolf kills (19%) (table 10.2). Interactions most often occurred at kill sites (66%). Most encounters at most sites were won by bears (40%), or the winner could not be determined (40%), even though wolves outnumbered bears during 76% of the interactions. Adult bears without cubs were in-volved in 88% of the encounters. Although wolves lost most disputed kills to bears, wolves were quite successful at defending their dens, and even wolf pups 6 to 7 months old chased bears away from wolf rendezvous sites (R. Mcintyre, unpublished data). Two likely in-stances of wolves in YNP killing grizzly bear cubs have been recorded. One cub was found near an elk carcass and the other near a bison carcass. Necropsy of the cubs, and the circumstances around the carcasses, indicated death from wolves. Much less is known about wolf-brown bear interactions in Eurasia, but wolves are known to have attacked young bears. ... Younger members of bear families were some-times killed by wolves at such sites, and wolves were sometimes killed by bears. Wolves sometimes ate bears, but bears usually ate only young wolves.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/view ... =usgsnpwrc
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