Offspring of Grizzly 399 killed after conflicts

Citing concerns for human safety, Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials killed one of the young offspring of the famed grizzly bear near Pinedale last week.
Grizzly 399 and cubs
Now 26 years old, the world famous Grizzly 399 gave birth to her most recent litter of four cubs during the winter of 2020. The cubs became independent from their mother earlier this year. (BlueBarronPhoto/Shutterstock)

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Environment


Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials killed one of the young offspring of famed Grizzly 399 on Tuesday, July 12, the nonprofit publication WyoFile first reported last Thursday.

The decision to kill the sub-adult male was made in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to Game and Fish Public Information Specialist Mark Gocke, who said the bear had gotten dangerously habituated to humans after receiving numerous food rewards in a developed area north of Pinedale.

“They just don’t unlearn that,” Gocke said. “They continue to seek out those easy meals, unfortunately, and tend to get bolder over time. And that’s when it becomes a human safety issue.”

399 is known for raising multiple litters not far from busy roadways in Grand Teton National Park over more than two decades. The four cubs from her latest litter branched out on their own earlier this year, and wildlife managers had expressed concerns about potential conflicts if the bears got access to unsecured food sources.

Gocke said euthanizing a bear is always a last resort but that officials didn’t believe relocation was an option for this grizzly—which was officially known as Grizzly 1057—because of its increasingly dangerous behavior. WyoFile reported that state wildlife managers had recorded 13 conflicts with the bear since May.

“The sub-adult grizzly was hanging out on porches of homes—even when they were occupied by people, during the day—and didn’t respond to hazing attempts,” Gocke said.

After news of the killing broke, the well-known grizzly advocate and wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen told the Jackson Hole News&Guide that the young bear “shouldn’t be punished because it was around houses.”

No similar behavior has been observed among the three other offspring of 399’s most recent litter, Gocke said. But he also warned that bear activity will only increase between now and November, when bears tend to go into hibernation, and he urged both residents and visitors to secure attractants like garbage and livestock feed and maintain clean campsites in order to keep both bears and humans safe.

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About Kyle Mackie

Kyle is a multimedia journalist who joined KHOL as news director in January 2021. Prior to moving West, she reported on education, immigration, racial justice and more for WBFO, the NPR affiliate in Buffalo, NY. With a background in international reporting, Kyle has also worked in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the Western Balkans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and geography from The George Washington University and master’s degree in journalism from the City University of New York. When not out reporting, Kyle can usually be found trail running, climbing, skiing or grooving to live music.

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