I think this could well be a short story by A.E. van Vogt called "The Second Solution". I originally read it the the van Vogt anthology "Away and Beyond", but it is also one of the stories that van Vogt cobbled together to create his 1959 "fix-up" novel "The War Against the Rull".
The race of aliens is called the "ezwals", and are the indigenous race on Carson's Planet, which Earth is trying to colonize. They are having to fight against the ezwals though, who appear to be ferocious killing machines.
A mother ezwal and her baby are captured and brought back to Earth by a team of scientists. The ship catastrophically crashes in the wilds of northern Canada. The mother is executed before the crash, but the baby manages to survive and escapes into the forest.
It is found by Caleb Carson, the grandson of the discoveror of Carson's Planet who has worked out that the ezwals' ferocity is a pretence. They are actually highly intelligent telepathic animals who are pretending to be wild and ferocious since men can stand to be defeated by blind nature, but not by intelligence.
The hope of our race is that men continue to think us beasts. If they
suspect our intelligence, we are lost. And someone does suspect it. If
that knowledge lives, our people die!"
Their hope is that they will make Carson's World untenable for humans, who will move to easier colonisation sites, leaving them free. Carson works out how to comuunicate with the young ezwal, allowing man and the aliens to collaborate.
He was suddenly feeling very young and very important and very humble.
For there had come to him the first glimpse of the greatness that was
to be his in the world of ezwals, in that world of titanic
construction, the beginning of dynamic new civilization.
It can be read online here.