A recent video of a bull elk and mountain lion apparently chilling out next to each other in Yellowstone National Park isn’t quite what it seems, a park official said.
No, it wasn’t a heart-warming “kumbaya” moment between rival species, Yellowstone spokeswoman Linda Veress told Cowboy State Daily.
Instead, it was a case of good fortune for the elk because the lion already had a full belly, she said.
Had Just Finished A Hearty Meal Of Bighorn
The young male mountain lion “had just finished feeding on a bighorn sheep ram, was likely satiated, and viewed the bull elk as an unnecessary risk to attack,” Veress said.
So, luckily for the bull, the big cat apparently wasn’t interested in dessert.
In the video taken by a Yellowstone guide, the bull comes to within a few yards of the mountain lion’s perch. The two exchange glances, with neither animal showing much concern for the presence of the other.
Had the predator not just eaten, it could have ended badly for the elk, Veress said.
“Adult cougars are capable of killing bull elk with or without antlers,” she said. “The elk and cougar were both aware of one another, so the element of surprise for the cougar was gone. As a stalking ambush hunter, this hunting mode of surprise mitigates some risk.”
Mountain Lions Opting For Urban Venues This Year
Meanwhile, mountain lions have been causing a ruckus in several Wyoming communities of late. They’ve been spotted in neighborhoods, and one big cat was captured in a backyard near downtown Gillette.
The Mountain lions might be following prey animals, which themselves have been driven into cities and towns by harsh winter conditions in parts of the state, Wyoming Game and Fish Department large carnivore specialist Dan Thompson recently told Cowboy State Daily.