A cell phone owned by back-country adventurers filmed an extremely rare battle to the death of a cougar and a wolf near Cowichan Lake, Vancouver. The travelers spotted the fight in the road ahead and stood a safe distance away to film the fight. Although cougars and wolves often share the same territory, and search the same prey, wildlife specialists say that a fight between the two is rare and almost never fatal — but not this time. Rod Mizak was driving down a logging service road near Cowichan Lake with a friend at around 3 a.m. on May 21 when he came upon the incredible scene. The animals never even noticed his vehicle, he said.
“At the beginning we weren’t sure what was going on.We realized quite quickly it was a cougar and a wolf … It took a minute for us to pick up our jaws off our laps. The cougar was on its back. The wolf and cougar were both locked on [to each other’s] faces, and the wolf had the upper hand. Then the wolf decided to let go and the cougar made one leap, and nailed the wolf right between these little trees.”
You can see the graphic footage below. [WARNING: Fight to the death]
The cougar then delivered the fatal last attack — clamping down on the wolf’s neck with it’s powerful jaw, breaking the wolf’s neck instantaneously. Mizak said even from a distance, he heard the sickening crunch of the wolf’s spine break.
“The crunch of the spine, the first initial hit. I relive it still. It was just the most incredible instance I ever could imagine.”
Steve Ackles, a conservation officer in Port Alberni, said such a fight is exceedingly rare, and to film it even rarer yet. Wolves and cougars are fairly equal opponents and so they frequently avoid fighting each other, although cougars are often more cowardly and surrender to wolves, as there is often enough food for both in the territories they live in and they have no reason to fight. Ackles presumes that they both must have been tempted by an enticing prey that they both saw at the same time, causing them to fight.
“Two of the most elusive animals in our wilds in B.C. To see that or get a photo of that … is quite unreal. He [Mizak] should go buy a lottery ticket… to attack an animal that can actually fight back, that is another predator, is pretty rare.”
Mizak left the scene before the cougar did, but when he returned, both the cougar and wolf’s body were gone.
[Photo by Canadian Geographic]