Grizzly Bear #399 spotted in Grand Teton
MOOSE, Wyo. (KIF) — Spring is here, and grizzly and black bears have emerged from their dens and are active inside Grand Teton National Park and across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).
On May 16, grizzly bear #399 was spotted in the north part of the park, for the first time this year, with one “cub of the year.” According to Frank van Manen, team leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, grizzly bear #399 is the oldest documented grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to reproduce at the age of 27. Previous records were held by four grizzlies who gave birth at 25 years of age. Based on current data, there’s only a 9% probability a female grizzly bear in the GYE would reach age 27. For grizzly bear #399 to have lived to 27 and given birth is exceptional.
“Years of concerted conservation efforts have helped bear species thrive through active management and education,” Grand Teton National Park superintendent Chip Jenkins said. “Grizzly bear #399 is an ambassador for her species and visitors travel from all over the world to see her and her cubs, so we must continue to implement the best bear safety practices for bears to thrive in the GYE.”
Seeing a bear in its natural habitat is a life-changing experience that continues to inspire people to want to help the species succeed. Living and recreating in bear country requires awareness and actions on our part to keep both bears and humans safe. As the grizzly bear population expands, bears continue to disperse across their historical range, but also into more populated areas. All of Teton County is now in occupied grizzly bear habitat.
Park visitors are asked to secure, or properly store, all attractants that could draw a bear into a campsite or developed area. Ensuring bears do not obtain unnatural foods is crucial to bear and human safety. Once a bear becomes conditioned to human food, risks to the bear and humans increase. Whether you live here or are visiting the area, please do your part to help protect bears.
If you see a bear:
- Preferably, park in a pull-out away from the road. If there is no pull-out, park on the side of the road, and ensure you are on the shoulder with all four tires to the right of the white stripe.
- Be careful as you leave your vehicle, especially on a blind corner.
- Watch for others walking or exiting their vehicles.
- Allow the bear space. Stay back 100 yards, or 300 feet, from any bear for your safety - it’s the law.
- Secure all attractants to ensure a bear does not obtain a food reward.
- Pay attention to and comply with what park staff are asking you to do and be ready to move quickly.
If you are exploring the backcountry:
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Make noise, especially in areas with limited visibility or where sound is muffled.
- Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and keep it readily accessible.
- Hike in groups of three or more people.
- Do not run. Back away slowly if you encounter a bear.
During Your Visit:
- Keep a clean camp. Store all attractants, including coolers, cooking gear, and pet food, inside a bear-resistant storage locker or a hard-sided vehicle with the doors locked and windows up. Properly store garbage until you can deposit it into a bear-resistant dumpster.
- Never abandon your picnic table or backpack. Make sure someone stays with your food.
- If you want a closer look at a bear, use a spotting scope, binoculars or a telephoto lens.
- Park in designated areas and never block travel lanes.
- Please respect all wildlife closure areas. You can view all park closures at go.nps.gov/tetonclosures.
Please report any bear activity to the closest visitor center or park ranger so staff can respond swiftly to reduce potential conflicts.