GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK — She’s certainly the most famous grizzly in the world, but she might just be the most famous lady in Jackson Hole, too.
It was lights, cameras and National Park Service-monitored action on Tuesday night when Grizzly 399 emerged from hibernation with a single cub, a moment photographers and fans have waited for since she left the public eye in December.
According to Frank van Manen, team leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, Grizzly 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 that a female grizzly bear in the GYE would reach age 27. For 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,” said Chip Jenkins, superintendent of Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). “Grizzly 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.”
Photos: C. Adams // NPS
GTNP reminds its visitors that living and recreating in bear country requires awareness and actions on everyone’s 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,” said GTNP.
Visitors are asked to report any bear activity to the closest visitor center or park ranger so staff can respond swiftly to reduce potential conflicts. For more information about bears in the Tetons, visit go.nps.gov/tetonbears.