Grizzly 399 photographed in Grand Teton National Park in June of 2020. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

JACKSON, Wyo. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and Wyoming Game and Fish Department have coordinated increased efforts to monitor Grizzly 399 and her cubs as they continue to receive unsecured attractants in southern areas of Jackson.

Their aim is to prevent any further conflicts with 399 for the remainder of the season.

Since Oct. 21, there have been at least five verified incidents in which the famous mother and her four cubs have received food rewards from livestock feed and an additional five instances in which 399 has damaged and accessed beehives.

“At this time of year, grizzly bears are actively seeking out high calorie sources and can easily be attracted to human sources and foods. USFWS and our partners continue to remind residents and visitors that they have a responsibility to be bear aware- and remember that a fed bear is a dead bear,” said Joe Szuszwalak, public affairs specialist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

If 399 or her cubs were to obtain human food, pet food, birdseed or any other non-natural food source, this could put both her and her cubs’ lives in jeopardy.

Another concern is that the mother bear is teaching her four cubs to find food from these problem areas which will put them in danger of being euthanized in the future.

“The whole county is kind of behind the times in terms of trash and storage and conflict prevention,” said Hillary Cooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife grizzly bear recovery coordinator. “Beehives, livestock feed, open dumpsters. Almost everywhere you look there’s something.”

Proper food storage is crucial in protecting the livelihood of 399 and her cubs. “It’s really important that these bears do not receive any food,” said Game and Fish’s Mark Gocke to Buckrail in August.

For the community, that means making sure all attractants are secure. Attractants include pet food, livestock feed, compost, BBQ grills and garbage. Wyoming Game and Fish is discouraging people from putting out the garbage the night before trash collection to make sure bears do not have access.

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Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.