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Grizzly 399, cubs begin separating

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Grizzly bear 399

One of grizzly bear 399's four yearling cubs nuzzles its mother as the family travels along Teton Park Road on in Grand Teton National Park.

JACKSON — Grizzly 399 and her four cubs appear to be separating, a behavior that’s been expected since the famous fivesome emerged from the den on Easter weekend.

Grand Teton National Park Chief of Staff Jeremy Barnum confirmed in a text that 399 had been spotted Thursday with a male bear in the park near Moose.

Three of the offspring were in the same general area, he said. One was spotted farther north in the park. That official report followed similar observations from wildlife watchers.

Arguably the most famous bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 399 has raised her young near roads in Teton Park for going on 16 years. The four-cub litter that she’s reared since 2020 is the largest the now 26-year-old bear has mothered.

Grizzly females tend to raise their cubs for two and half to three years before separating. Wildlife managers have said for months that they expected the cubs to strike out on their own this spring.

A question now is where she and her cubs will roam and whether they’ll get into trouble. They made waves last year getting into human food in the developed southern areas of Jackson Hole and receiving a personal detail from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as they did so.

Two of the cubs were radio collared, and those collars are expected to drop off in mid-July.

The fivesome ventured south once already this year, where they gave West Bankers a show on the Snake River Ranch just south of Teton Village.

The bears have since re-entered the park. On Tuesday, the fivesome remained in sight for a significant amount of time, giving wildlife watchers and tourists alike a chance to see them together before the separation began.

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