Since being hit by a vehicle and laying almost completely still for hours last week, one of Wyoming’s most famous bears, Grizzly 610, has apparently bounced back, local wildlife observers told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.
“She is doing great and acting normal,” said Tristan Moffett of Jackson, who runs Roam Wild Photo Tours in Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks.
Although she was seen up and around shortly after being hit, there was fear Grizzly 610 might have still had some internal injuries that hadn’t manifested. As more time passes, that possibility grows smaller.
Looking Fine, At Least On The Outside
As a grown offspring of Wyoming’s most famous bear, Grizzly 399, Grizzly 610 has garnered a wide fanbase of her own. Since she was reported being struck by a vehicle Oct. 9, numerous admirers from around the country have sent messages and emails to Cowboy State Daily asking about the bear’s condition.
Grizzly 610 has three yearling cubs of her own, and it’s being reported that she’s rejoined her cubs and that all four bears appear to be doing fine, said local wildlife photographer Jacob Krank, who was on the scene shortly after she was struck.
He previously told Cowboy State Daily that, judging by the size of the skid marks at the scene, Grizzly 610 had likely been struck by a semi. Nobody witnessed the accident, and the driver apparently left the scene without reporting it, according to the National Park Service.
The beloved bear appears to be doing well, Krank said.
“Everything I’ve heard is that she’s on her feet, behaving and moving normally and has actually covered a lot of ground since the incident,” he said.
“So, everything we can see externally is great. Hopefully all is well internally as well and there’s no developing issues such as an infection,” he added.
Wyoming wildlife photographer Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven, who has long followed the Grand Teton and Yellowstone grizzlies, said he heard similar reports about 610’s well-being.
He said Monday that it had been “a few days” since he’d seen 610, but people he trusts were giving nothing but positive reports about the condition of the grizzly and her cubs.
Nasty Stretch Of Road
Grizzly 610 was struck along a stretch of U.S. Highway 89 that goes through Teton Park and is notorious for speeding driver and wildlife collisions. The accident reignited calls among locals to lower the speed limit along that stretch of highway, and perhaps build a wildlife crossing there.
Retired forester Karl Brauneis of Lander frequently drives that stretch of highway. He told Cowboy State Daily that he constantly sees people driving too fast, passing in unsafe areas and otherwise behaving badly there. But he takes a cynical view as to whether switching the speed limited from 55 mph to 45 would make any difference and spare more wildlife from being struck.
Instead, paying law enforcement officers enough to live on in Jackson would help more, he said.
“Lowering speed limits will do nothing to help,” he said. “It’s a law enforcement problem, which in turn is a housing problem. I can't see Wyoming posting any more troopers in the Jackson area due to housing and the cost of living. Possibly the federal legislature could get more money for law enforcement ranger housing and salary?”
Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.