Grizzly 399: Still An Imposing Bear At The Old Age of 26

Wildlife photographer Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven observed Grizzly 399 and her boyfriend Bruno last week for more than four hours. She is still an imposing bear but her teeth show her age.

Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven

June 18, 20222 min read

399 closeup scaled

Recently, I observed the grizzly ‘mating dance’ in Grand Teton National Park.

In the case of celebrity grizzly sow 399 and her suitor, a big boar known as Bruno, it was quite the spectacle.

The short version of the story: she wasn’t interested, he didn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer.

While I had them in my sights for almost 4 hours straight, the behavior was consistent: 399 grazed almost non-stop while Bruno hovered near her, not eating a thing and only having eyes for her.

399 got fed up with Bruno several times, she faked running in one direction and then sprinted away from him in the other direction. Bruno, however, didn’t flinch.  Wherever 399 ran, he followed her.

On one of their ‘runs’, they ran straight in my direction.  

If you ever wondered what it looks like when a grizzly comes running at you full sprint, I have it on camera.  Those images are coming soon.

As she and Bruno ran very close to my parked car, I also got a close-up of 399’s teeth.

Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of death for grizzly bears is tooth decay, followed by starvation.

Based on these close-ups of 399’s teeth, who is currently an ‘old’ grizzly at the age of 26, it’s anyone’s guess how much time she has left …

Follow John at his website and on Facebook.

Share this article



Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven