November 28, 2011

Grizzly bear turns out to be an elk-aholic

Now that we've had temperatures of minus 30, and a couple of big snowstorms, you would think that hibernating grizzlies would be far from our minds.  But bears have a way of commanding attention even when they're not around!

While we were away in October, a grizzly bear managed to either hunt an elk, or find an elk that had died up around Bow Lake.  A couple of tourists found the cached carcass – luckily while the bear wasn't around.  What they found was a pile of vegetation and leaf litter in a 15 x 15 foot square that almost completely covered the animal.

We've heard of bears guarding animal carcasses before, but more commonly they just hang out beside their meal, keeping away intruders until they finish eating.  This is the first time we've heard of them hiding food like this.

When the park service  heard about the cached elk, they decided to move it to a safer place away from people.  One of our friends in the warden service took some pictures as they uncovered the elk for transport.  It was like an archaeology dig!

Enjoy a glimpse into the private dining room of one of the icons of the Canadian Rockies!