This surprised me. One or more mountain lions in Washington state has decided that wolves taste good:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff have documented cougars killing six collared wolves since 2013—almost 30 percent of the 21 documented natural wolf mortalities in the state. "That's huge if that trend holds and is representative of the entire population [in the state]," says Trent Roussin, a WDFW biologist. The kills involve multiple wolf packs in different areas of Washington.
Such kills are rare elsewhere in the U.S. West, where more wolves are on the landscape since their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park, which is mostly in Wyoming, and central Idaho in 1995. Today Montana and Idaho have over five times more wolves than Washington.
While a wolf pack tends to have an advantage over a single cougar—sometimes running it up into a tree or kicking it off a carcass to scavenge for themselves—a cougar excels in a one-on-one ambush. All but one of Washington's wolf kills involved lone wolves.
"Everyone always assumes wolves have the upper hand," says ecologist Mark Elbroch, the leader of Panthera's Puma Program. "But that's not always the case."
I don't expect my own wolf would do well in a fight against a cougar—or a Dachshund, for that matter—but I had no idea cougars hunted actual wolves. You know I'll always root for the dogs over the cats, though.