Nature can be tragic. And this wildlife interaction witnessed in June 2022, shows just how tragic it can be.
A video of the incident was taken by hikers in the mountains of Castilla y León, Spain. It shows an epic cliff-side battle between two big Cantabrian brown bears. A big male bear tries to walk towards a cub, while the mama bear faces off with the boar, despite appearing to be significantly smaller. The two bears battle viciously for several minutes, clawing and biting at each other. Then, in the heat of battle, they lose balance and tumble off of the precipice. One of the bears hits the ground and rolls hundreds of feet down the mountainside, as the other lays limp where it falls. See the brutal sequence of events for yourself below.
According to Science, male bears are known to kill cubs that are not theirs. Infanticide by males has also been observed in other animals, such as lions. According to National Geographic, it is an important part of some animals’ reproductive strategies as it allows dominant bears to pass on their genes.
In this case, though, it ended poorly for all the bears involved. According to The Guardian, authorities soon found the 478-pound boar dead at the scene of the incident. After a brief search, they found the mother bear had denned up in a cave with her cubs. Authorities left food and water for the bears to aid in their recovery, but the bears—one sow and two cubs—were eventually found dead in the cave in September.
According to Geographical, northern Spain’s brown bear population was once on the brink of extinction—with less than 50 individuals in the wild—but has recovered significantly in recent years. Today, the species is still considered endangered, but there are now over 400 wild Cantabrian brown bears in Spain.