The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and Wyoming Game and Fish Department are working together to mitigate conflicts in bear country, particularly when it comes to one popular bear family. Grizzly bear 399 will soon emerge from her den with four offspring, who will likely disperse this spring.
During the last two years, grizzly bear 399 and her cubs spent a significant amount of time near residential areas and received numerous food rewards. During a media briefing yesterday, US Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Hillary Cooley pointed out that the four cubs’ past experience could prompt them to return to points outside the park.
“We don’t know when or where they’re going to go. We don’t know if they’re going to stay together for a little while – go south; but we do know that they do have a higher potential to come into conflict. Bears in general, when they know they have a food source, they will repeat that and try to go and find it again.”
Participants on the panel pointed out that the events of the last two years serve as a critical reminder that all of Jackson and Teton County are in occupied grizzly bear habitat, and it will be extremely important now for everyone living here to help to protect the livelihood of grizzly bear 399 and her offspring by securing attractants and practicing proper food storage.