This Single Grizzly Basically Sheep Dogs an Entire Elk Herd in Yellowstone

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: January 23, 2023
© Kelp Grizzly Photography/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Want to see a grizzly auditioning as a sheepdog? That’s what you get in this video and it’s a fascinating thing to see. Except, of course, this is no audition at all. The grizzly is lining up some dinner! At the start of the footage, we see the herd of elk running up an incline. They are aware that there is safety in numbers and they stick together as the bear comes into view. They even stop and face the bear at one point. We never get to see whether the grizzly is successful as the herd heads off into the forest and out of view.

Elks Grazing in Yellowstone

There are plenty of elk in Yellowstone and a lot of grizzlies too! The population of elk is between 10,000 and 20,000 who live in six to seven herds. The larger herds are usually made up of all females and can contain as many as 400 individuals. However, these herds can also contain males who are too young or too old to want to fight each other for dominance. The elk in the park are hunted by several predators including mountain lions and wolves. However, they are also part of the food chain for bald eagles and coyotes.

We can see these elk on grassland and next to a forest. Both are food sources for these herbivores.

Elk are large animals and an adult needs around 20 pounds of vegetation each day. This is predominantly grass which they graze but it can be tree bark and tree sprouts. Vegetation is not easy to break down in the digestive system. So, elks have a stomach with four chambers, and after spending the morning and the evening grazing, they find a sheltered place to rest whilst their bodies digest the meal.

Grizzlies on a Hunt

Grizzly bears do not need to eat a large amount of meat. They are a subspecies of the brown bear and they tend to live alone. Each bear needs a large area of habitat in which they roam to find food. Up to 90 percent of their diet can be plants. Typically, they enjoy berries and fruit. If they are near a river, they will catch fish. However, as we see here, they are also capable of hunting elk. An adult elk, who can run at up to 40 mph, could usually outrun a grizzly bear. However, old, ill, and young elk cannot run so fast and are easier for a bear to catch. We will never know if this one was successful!  

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© Kelp Grizzly Photography/

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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