Photo credit: Ryan Dorgan, National Geographic

Bear 399 Reemerges in Grand Teton With Twin Cubs

Bear 399, one of Grand Teton National Park’s most famous grizzlies, has been spotted around Pilgrim Creek—with two cubs in tow.

Bear 399, a well-known “roadside bear,” has been a celebrity of sorts since at least 2006, when she was first spotted frequenting roadsides around Grand Teton, often with cubs trailing along.

The news comes after last summer’s tragedy, when her then-latest cub (nicknamed “Snowy,” pictured above) was struck and killed by a car near Pilgrim Creek. And that news came after 399’s “miraculous” reappearance after an area hunter claimed to have shot her months prior.

According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Bear 399 and her cubs were spotted Tuesday evening by a National Park Service employee:

Kate Wilmot, a Park Service bear management specialist and supervisor of the volunteer Wildlife Brigade, was driving around 7 p.m. when she “observed what appeared to be a wildlife jam and saw a bear with two cubs of the year” near the road.

Wilmot is among regular observers of 399 over the years, and said, “It looked like her and acted like her.”

“They were just walking,” Wilmot said. “They were close to the road but then they disappeared quickly.”

Wilmot said one observer had to be warned for getting too close to 399 and her babes. The park has a 100-yard limit on how close people can get to bears, for the protection of both.

The two cubs “were tiny” Wilmot said, estimating them at “less than 50 pounds.” She figured their age at about 3 1/2 months. 399 appeared to be healthy judging from the brief look Wilmot had.


The death last year of 399’s youngster is a reminder, park spokeswoman Denise Germann said, for people driving through the park to be careful.

Noting last year’s record 3.3 million visitors, Germann said the park is “definitely seeing increasing visitation to the park this time of year, and part of that’s the opportunity to see wildlife.

“We just want to share the message to slow down,” she said. “That’s consistent throughout the year … slow down is always the clear message.”

Another of 399’s offspring, dubbed Bear 610, has become a den mother in her own right; 610 was spotted a few weeks back with a pair of cubs.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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