Thursday, November 25, 2010

Anything you can do... incredible moment a wolf catches a salmon using fishing technique copied from a bear


Gotcha: The wolf wrestles with his catch within just yards of a brown bear as he looks to bring in his own

His powerful jaws clamped around a huge salmon, this wolf looks mightily pleased with himself.

This wonderful photograph captures the rare moment that a wolf was caught on camera fishing after learning the technique from bears.

With a massive grizzly in the foreground the wolf can clearly be seen setting itself, leaping and then grabbing the huge fish from the water.

The amazing sequence - which some even dubbed a hoax or photoshopped - was captured in just minutes by wildlife photographer Paul Stinsa.

Along with a party of enthusiasts Mr Stinsa was on actually on an expedition to see bears not wolves in Katmai National Park, Alaska.

But it turned out some of the best shots of his life were waiting for him at a spot named Brooks Falls - when out of the blue a wolf appeared from the trees.

Just feet from the far more powerful grizzly bear the incredible moment unfolded before Mr Stinsa's eyes as he watched from a viewing platform.

Paul and others had been standing on the platform looking at a large and a small male bear fishing, but when the action stopped some decided to leave.

The party were also surprised to see a wolf at the river earlier but it had been chased off by the bears.

The wolf plunges into the freezing water after learning the technique from bears fishing on the same river

He said: 'Nothing was happening at the falls, and some of the viewers left the platform to head back to camp.

'This would prove to be a mistake, as the wolf soon came trotting down the riverbank and into the water across from the viewing platform.

'I stood on the platform, scrambling to set the camera properly to photograph a dark, moving subject against a black background on an overcast day.

'I watched intently as the wolf slowly crept through the shallow water along the rock wall below the falls, sneaking up on the resting salmon from downstream.

'As the wolf neared the base of the falls, it dove headfirst into the pool. In a flurry of splashing water, it pulled its head out of the river with a salmon, desperately flopping, clamped in its jaws.

'The wolf then cautiously walked downriver and ran up the trail into the woods.'
Mr Stinsa and the rest of the group were left stunned - none of the rest of the group had been quick enough to get their camera out.

Success: Wet but triumphant the cunning wolf steps out of the river with a huger salmon clasped in its jaws

Mr Stinsa, 42, from Chicago, USA, said: 'Nobody on the platform, including the park ranger, had ever heard of this behaviour from a wolf, much less witnessed it.

'We all felt as though we had received a unique bonus on our bear- viewing trip.
'Apart from a local paper in the US no one else has seen these pictures, but a lot of people have said they are a hoax on the internet.

'When I think of the risk and difficulty for the wolf required to evade territorial brown bears to either feed pups or hide the dead fish in the woods without being attacked, I'm amazed at the intelligence shown by the wolf while fishing at Brooks Falls.

'What appeared obvious to everyone watching that afternoon was that this wolf had fished like this before.

'Its fishing skill was not an accident but rather a repeatable, successful process. The wolf had no intention of scavenging the leftovers from the bears.

'It had managed to catch all 15 fish and take them into the woods, returning each time by the same trail, without coming into contact with the bears walking in the forest above the river.'


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