Grizzly 399 Lives! And She's Got A New Cub!

The world's most famous bear, Grizzly 399, emerged from hibernation Tuesday with one cub. At age 27, she’s now the oldest grizzly mama on record.

MH
Mark Heinz

May 17, 20232 min read

Grizzly 399 and her 2023 cub were spotted for the first time this year May 16. (Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced)
Grizzly 399 and her 2023 cub were spotted for the first time this year May 16. (Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced) (Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven)

After making her first appearance on Tuesday with a single cub, Wyoming’s famed Grizzly 399 is the oldest grizzly mama on record.

Her worldwide fanbase has been kept on edge for weeks. And on Tuesday, 399 showed up in Grand Teton National Park with a single “COY” (cub of the year) and looks healthy, famed wildlife photographer Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven told Cowboy State Daily.

"Just the fact alone that grizzly 399 is still alive is amazing," Vangoidtsenhoven said. "Only 9% of new cubs make it to her age in the wild; but to appear with a new cub."

Few Bears Even Live That Long

The previous record for the oldest known grizzly momma was 25. 399 is 27 years old.

Grizzly 399 was first spotted at about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday in her usual territory, the Pilgrim Creek area of Teton Park. It didn’t take long for a crowd to form.

"Crowds started forming along the park road as rumors started flying," he said. "It wasn't until 3 hours later that she walked out into a sage brush field and showed her new baby to the happy park visitors."

  • Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced
    Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced (Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven)
  • Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced
    Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced (Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven)
  • Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced
    Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced (Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven)
  • Grizzly 399 and her 2023 cub were spotted for the first time this year May 16. (Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced)
    Grizzly 399 and her 2023 cub were spotted for the first time this year May 16. (Photo is owned by Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven and may not be reproduced) (Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven)

In her usual fashion, 399 treated an adoring gaggle of onlookers to the first good views of her cub. She’s known to take her young near roadsides and other crowded areas.

The cub – whose sex remains undetermined, is 399’s first offspring since 2020, when she emerged from hibernation with an almost unprecedented brood of four cubs.

More on the sighting can be seen at Vangoidtsenhoven's blog.

Mark Heinz can be reached at Mark@CowboyStateDaily.com

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MH

Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter