Grizzly Bears benefit from Wolves in Yellowstone

| December 4, 2013 | Reply

Grizzly Bears are omnivores. They eat both plants and meat. They can hunt for themselves, e.g. young Elk or Moose calves. They will also take over kills by other predators like Pumas or Wolves.

In Yellowstone, when Wolves kill prey such as Elk, Bison or Moose, Grizzly Bears sometimes take over the kill and eat it themselves. This can be a huge benefit for the bears, particularly in early spring when the Grizzly Bears wake up.

Now a more indirect benefit for Grizzly Bears has been shown. The wolves have reduced the feeding pressure by Elks on berries like the Serviceberry. With less pressure on the berries from Elks, there is more berries for the Grizzly Bears who like to feed on them in autumn.

This shows what an important ecological impact top predators like Wolves can have and also that those impacts are not always seen right away. A lot more research is necessary about the ecology of top predators and their influence on ecosystems. Much has been discovered already but much more research is necessary to learn about the ecological effects of predators like Wolves, Tigers, Leopards, Great White Sharks or Harpy Eagles.

More information:
Wolves boost food for Yellowstone’s threatened grizzlies.

Category: bears, canines, cats

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