The Queen's Glory

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Posted by Granite Head ( on 10:54:34 07/07/21

In Reply to: There's one in EVERY family posted by Granite Head

One hella' beautiful and amazing bear, 399 is.

Known by her wildlife management number, 399, this 25 year-old grizzly mother is renowned for her longevity (25 is quite old for a wild bear), her fecundity (she's had numerous litters of cubs, the most recent being quadruplets, born in the winter of 2020), and her tolerance of the presence of humans as a result of her preference for roadside habitat in Grand Teton National Park. I am very lucky to have seen, and usually photographed though not always with great results, her nearly every year since 2006 when she appeared with her first set of triplets.

Her yearling cubs are just out of the frame. She never leaves them, nor does she allow them to stray more than a few yards from her.

On this late May evening, in front of many fans, she and her cubs burst out of the sage and took down a newborn elk calf on their home ground in the park. While the four youngsters fed, 399 abstained. Instead of eating, she remained on high alert, deeply understanding that young bears focused only on their meal (as meager as a single elk calf for 4 or 5 thin bears may be) are extremely vulnerable to aggression by another, likely male, bear. All was well, and the four little bears, took in just a few more badly-needed calories.

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