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SNAPPED: My, how they’ve grown!

JACKSON, Wyo. — In the spring of 2020, Grizzly 399 shocked park biologists when she emerged from her den with quadrupled cubs. They will probably be her last.

“Four-cub litters are rare,” said Frank van Manen, a senior research biologist who oversees the Yellowstone region’s Grizzly Bear Study Team. “We have documented females producing cubs well into their early- to mid- 20s, but a litter of four at [her] age is definitely unique.”

Over the span of the last year, the public has witnessed 399’s offspring grow from tiny cubs to nearly their mother’s size.

The famous mother and her four cubs at Pilgrim Creek in May of 2020. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail
A recent spotting of 399 and her grown cubs near HWY 22. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

It is predicted that after this season, the public will no longer see 399 with her four cubs in tow. It is common for a grizzly mother to care for her young for at least two years, feeding and protecting them. But when the cubs are two and a half years old, they typically separate from their mother.

Grizzly 399 and her offspring are some of the most beloved and well-known wildlife in the world. Families, photographers, wildlife watchers and nature enthusiasts travel to northwest Wyoming to see her and her kin. They are symbols of both the wilderness and what people closely value as the region has seen with record-breaking visitation to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks this year.

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