A black bear in Alaska tried to take down a moose calf earlier this summer—but underestimated the protective nature of the moose’s mother. The bear successfully took the moose calf to the ground and clamped its jaws down around its neck. For a moment, it appeared like the bear was going to make a quick meal out of the young critter—but then a big cow moose came to the rescue. The moose came running directly at the bear, which tried to drag the calf with it as it fled before eventually releasing its quarry. The bear made one more attempt to catch the calf, but the cow moose again chased it off, before standing protectively above her offspring.
The entire encounter was captured on video from a nearby road by Cody Handley that was shared on the popular Instagram account Natureismetal. “Custody battle,” wrote Natureismetal in the post. “Unfortunately for the bear, dinner time will have to wait.”
Handley tells F&S that the spectacular series of events took place in early July in Kenai, Alaska. He adds that he’s seen similar wildlife sightings before—but that this is the first time he was able to get it on video.
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The Kenai Peninsula is home to coastal brown bears and black bears. The bear pictured in Handley’s video appears to be a black bear. According to the National Park Service, black bears are North America’s smallest species of bear. They’re “opportunistic feeders,” which means they’ll try to take advantage of whatever food sources present themselves, including young deer, elk, and moose.
Alaska is home to 175,000 to 200,000 moose, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Cow moose can reach weights of up to 800 pounds and are known to be aggressive when protecting their young—as this moose was.