grizzly 399 and bear jams

Traveling north of sixty …

Grizzly 399 was born 25 years ago in the Pilgrim Creek Area of Grand Teton National Park and is older than usual for a grizzly bear. She was given her name as a research number by the Yellowstone Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. I understand that this particular grizzly is famous because she has chosen to hang out near roadways rather than the backcountry, perhaps because it is safer for her cubs against male grizzlies, and because she has been a prolific mother, having produced 16 cubs.

Photographers might wait for hours in hopes of getting a glimpse of the Bear 399 family, and indeed we saw that very thing a couple of days ago where a huge crowd (200 cars we were told later) waited with no bear in sight. Today, we just happened to drive right through a “399” bear jam with the bear in plain sight and we managed to get a parking spot to try our hand. After about an hour of filling up camera memory cards, the bears disappeared, the crowds dispersed and we resumed our journey north. On our drive back, we spotted the bears in the open field us once again. This time though, we were the first ones to arrive, so we had front row seats with the bonus of no wildlife management personnel and rangers to shoo us away.

One of Grizzly 399’s four cubs delights the crowd with some traffic cone antics
One of Grizzly 399’s cubs
Grizzly 399 spending some quality time with one of her cubs.
A family portrait of Grizzly Bear 399 and her four cubs

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