It’s not every day that you see a grey wolf and a brown bear hanging out together in the wild. In fact, it sounds like something straight out of a fairytale. But Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen saw it firsthand.
It wasn’t just a spur of the moment chance encounter, either. The lucky photographer was able to document the unlikely friendship over the course of ten days in 2013.
He watched from afar as the duo did just about everything together, hunting as a team and then sharing their victories; even taking some time to play together in between feasting.
The photographer watched in awe as the two met up every night before going out on the hunt.
Together the fierce pair were pretty much unstoppable, scoring one delicious deer carcass after another and then sharing the meaty flesh in the wide-open wilderness.
“It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this,” Lassi Rautiainen, shared with the Daily Mail in 2013 when he took these surprising photos.
“From what I could find, it’s actually the first time, at least in Europe, where such a friendship was developed.”
Both were destined to be isolated hunters and yet somehow, despite the odds, the two ended up joining forces and coming together.
“No-one can know exactly why or how the young wolf and bear became friends,” Lassi continued.
“I think that perhaps they were both alone and they were young and a bit unsure of how to survive alone…It is nice to share rare events in the wild that you would never expect to see.”
As of now, no one has done any scientific research into unlikely friendships such as these that develop in the wild. While there are documented cases of odd animal friendships in captivity, it’s especially rare to see this sort of behavior in the wild.
“It seems to me that they feel safe being together,” Lassi surmises.
These two don’t just break bread (or should we say bones) together, they’ve also been spotted playing together like two old pals.
The besties were spotted meeting up around dinner time every day before going out on the hunt. From around 8 pm to 4 am the two would stay together and enjoy one another’s company.
These incredible photos were captured by 56-year-old Nature Photographer Lassi Rautiainen out in the wilderness of northern Finland.
“When I realised that no one had observed bears and wolves living near each other and becoming friends in Europe, I concentrated more and more on getting pictures to show what can happen in nature,” said Lassi.
“Then I came across these two and knew that it made the perfect story. It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this. It is nice to share rare events in the wild that you would never expect to see.”
What makes this story even more shocking is that there are some accounts of wolves actually eating bears when food supplies are limited.
There are no published studies on the matter, but there are documented examples of overcrowded wolf populations turning on black bears when deer supplies dwindle down.
Hunter Bernie Barringer was shocked the first time he saw a bear run off in fear of approaching wolves in Ontario.
“I have seen wolf scat full of bear fur on several occasions. But in speaking with biologists, none could verify how common it is for wolves to kill and eat bears,” Barringer wrote via grandviewoutdoors.com.
You won’t catch this lovey-dovey pair turning on one another anytime soon.
Looking at these pictures, it’s very clear that the two are co-dependent and have a strong affection for one another.