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Wyoming’s Most Famous Bear Has Emerged From Hibernation

Grizzly 399

Grizzly 399 has been spotted with her big cub in tow.  She was spotted late Sunday.  Longtime Wyoming wildlife photographers Tom Mangelsen and Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven told Cowboy State Daily that there had been reports of The Queen of the Tetons and her cub Spirit being spotted “briefly” late Sunday.

Early Monday, Vangoidtsenhoven said the sighting had been confirmed.

“One person saw her last night. It’s confirmed,” he said. “So far this morning no new sightings, but I just found tracks of her and Spirit.”

At the ripe old age of 28, 399 is considered “advanced in age” for a grizzly.  Members of her species rarely make it into their 30s.  399 is also one of the oldest mama bears on record.

However, experts have said they have little doubt that she’ll live at least long enough to raise Spirit to age 2, sometime next year when the cub will be old enough to strike out on his own.

It was in 2020 that 399 emerged from her den in the spring with an almost unprecedented set of quadruplet cubs.

All of those cubs survived to independence. However, one of them, a male, was later killed by wildlife agents in July 2022 for displaying “dangerous behavior” in human-settled areas.

Many people in 399’s worldwide fanbase were angered by the cub’s killing, which they thought was unnecessary.

Grizzly 399 gained fame and huge social media followings through her habit of taking her cubs to highly visible areas near roadsides in Grand Teton National Park.

A new documentary film called “399: Queen of the Tetons” centers on her life since the spring of 2020.

The film recently debuted before a packed house at the Big Sky Documentary Fim Festival in Missoula, Montana, and was received enthusiastically, he said.

A shortened version is expected to air on PBS in May.


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