JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A female grizzly bear that is frequently seen in the open with cubs in Grand Teton National Park has emerged from her winter hibernation - with one cub in tow.
Known as bear 399, the 20-year-old grizzly made her appearance Tuesday to the delight of photographers and wildlife watchers in the northern part of the park near Pacific Creek.
Photographer Bernie Scates posted himself in the area for 10 days waiting for the matriarch grizzly.
“I knew I was going to see her,” Scates told the Jackson Hole News & Guide (https://bit.ly/1R0tULb). “It was just a question of when she was going to come out.”
When word of 399’s emergence spread, a crowd quickly showed up.
Wildlife videographer Jim Laybourn didn’t pass up the chance.
“Everybody wanted to greet their favorite girl,” Laybourn said. “She looks great - not a day over 12.”
The single light-faced cub accompanying 399 comes after three straight litters of triplets. It was more than a decade ago that the 399 gave birth to a similarly small litter.
“In 2004 she was observed with one cub of the year,” Grand Teton bear management specialist Kate Wilmot said. “This is before she became this famous bear.”
The fame picked up in 2006 when grizzly 399 reared bear 610 and two other cubs in plain sight from roads that cut through the northern part of the park.
Grizzly 610 has gone on to become an equally well-known bear and has been active with two 1-year-old cubs the past couple of weeks.
Wilmot said old age could be a factor in why grizzly 399 emerged with only one cub. Or one or more cubs from this year’s litter could have died.
“It could be reproductive senescence,” Wilmot said, “but it also could just be that she only had one cub.”
About a half dozen grizzly bears are out and about in the northern Grand Teton area.
The arrival of Grand Teton’s famous sow grizzly comes as the federal government plans to let Wyoming, Montana and Idaho manage the species. Hunting is one tool being considered for managing bears that move outside protected areas like Grand Teton where 399 resides.
Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com
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