Apex predators rise to the top by being the most effective hunters in their domain, but the food chain is occasionally disrupted by an underdog. Parks Canada retrieved the body of a female grizzly bear in the highlands of Burgess Pass in Yoho National Park, as an example. The adversary turned out to be a goat, which is unusual because such a species is generally the slayer rather than the murdered.
Parks Canada was alerted to the location of a carcass after the conflict occurred sometime around September 4. Bodies like these must be removed because they can attract wildlife, putting travellers to the pass at risk. When a slain bear is discovered, a forensic investigation is conducted to establish the cause of death, and a necropsy is performed on the animal. The fatal wounds were discovered near the base of the bear’s neck and in its armpits during the inspection. To the uninformed, the attack sites may appear random, but experienced park rangers believe it was the work of one extraordinarily lucky mountain goat.
“When grizzly bears attack, they normally attack from above, focusing on the prey’s head, neck, and shoulders,” Alison Biles, Public Relations and Communications Officer for Parks Canada told IFLScience. “In reply, mountain goats’ protective instinct would be to defend themselves with their pointy horns.” “Grizzly bear predation of mountain goats is rather common, and there was a lot of goat activity in the area. The mountain goat seemed to have been able to protect itself in this circumstance.
Other incidents of mountain goats defensively killing bears have been documented in the past, which is not surprising given that mountain goats are robust animals with well-developed defense mechanisms,” Biles added.
A bald eagle was found stunningly spread-eagle (pun intended) and facedown, slain, in a lake in Maine last year, in a similar David and Goliath story. The culprit turned out to be a kook who managed to penetrate the eagle’s heart with her pointed beak before succumbing to the bird’s injuries.
While such animal conflicts make for entertaining stories, they also highlight that even in seemingly unjust contests; you never know who will win. A recent poll found that 7% of males asked believed they could take down a grizzly bear, a figure that has rarely been borne out in actuality. With that in mind, any wildlife murder scenarios should be avoided at all costs, as you never know who might be watching.