First Grizzly Spotted At Grand Teton National Park, Other Bears Following Suit

The first grizzly bear sighting at Grand Teton National Park occurred last week, as many male grizzlies begin to emerge from hibernation across the country.

Ellen Fike

March 21, 20223 min read

Bear in snow 3 22 22 scaled
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The first grizzly bear sighting at Grand Teton National Park occurred last week, as many male bears begin to emerge from hibernation across the country.

The first sighting in the park was reported on March 13, Grand Teton officials said.

Adult male grizzlies typically emerge from hibernation around this time of year, while females and their young leave the den around April or early May.

The most famous mother bear in Wyoming, Grizzly 399, and her four cubs likely won’t emerge from their den for another few weeks.

Experts believe the mother grizzly will likely send her four youngest cubs out of the den this year once they leave hibernation.

“They’ll come out of the den together,” Dan Thompson, large carnivore biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, previously told Cowboy State Daily. “They’ll spend some time together for a while, but with 2-year-olds, usually they (the mama bear) will kick them off, especially when breeding starts in June, and they’ll go their separate ways.”

But Thompson said that this particular grizzly doesn’t always do what’s expected.

“This parent in particular seems to change things very quickly,” he said.

Bear 399 will be 26 years old this year and Thompson noted that she may be reaching the end of her child-bearing years.

“That’s pretty old for a bear to produce, and be able to forage for them,” he said. “We have documented two females with cubs of the year at age 25 — 399 would have been 24 when she had the four cubs (in 2020).”

When bears leave their dens, they search for food and often scavenge animals carcasses. Bears might display aggressive behavior during this time, if encountered while feeding.

“Bear season has begun, how it ends depends on all of us,” said Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “We welcome the community led effort to work across boundaries to protect bears in Jackson Hole, and we need everyone’s help to remove unsecured attractants from the valley.”

The first Yellowstone National Park grizzly sighting occurred earlier this month.

There are estimated to be more than 1,000 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

A beloved male grizzly known as “Boo” recently awakened from hibernation at the Kicking Horse Bear Refuge in British Columbia, Canada. This is Boo’s 20th spring.

Black bears were spotted coming out of hibernation, and getting into mischief, at a home in New Hampshire, according to news outlet WMUR.

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Ellen Fike