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hge54 | profile | all galleries >> Timeless Yellowstone >> Yellowstone 5/09 >> A Mother Elk's Desperate Struggle tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

A Mother Elk's Desperate Struggle

Two wolves pursue a cow elk in the Lamar Valley. She reaches the river, which is swollen by snow melt. They will not pursue her into the river, fearing either that she will have the upper hand, or possibly that they will be swept under the log jam below. Inexplicably, and repeatedly, she charges out of the river at them, lashing out with her front hooves. After retreating from this onslaught, the wolves flank her, and regain the advantage. Each time, she manages to escape their pursuit and return to the river. Finally, the wolves give up, and look for easier prey.

I was totally baffled by the elk's seemingly suicidal behavior when a wolf biologist informed me that the elk has a calf, hidden in the brush nearby. Her charges have distracted the wolves, and prevented them from finding the calf. Most likely, they are not even aware of it's existence.
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Another Charge
Another Charge
Another Charge
Another Charge
Another Charge
Another Charge
Retreat
Retreat
Retreat
Retreat
Retreat
Retreat
Victory
Victory
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