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Adult daughter of grizzly 399 killed at Grand Teton National Park
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Adult daughter of grizzly 399 killed at Grand Teton National Park

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The 4-year-old grizzly bear euthanized this past Saturday in Grand Teton National Park was the daughter of grizzly 399, Wyoming’s most famous roadside bear.

One of two cubs born in 2017 to the celebrity mother, a bear that’s known for having triplets and is currently raising quadruplets, grizzly 962 was just the second of 399’s daughters to have a cub of her own. Her first — and only — cub was born this winter, but disappeared in the late spring.

Grizzly 962 was not the first of 399’s offspring to die from human conflicts. Her only cub born the year before 962, nicknamed “Snowy” after its white snout, was hit by a car and killed. A 2-year-old male bear believed to be 399’s grandson was euthanized this spring after seeking out human food.

It was 962 whose unusual behavior patterns last fall sparked an investigation into the feeding of 399 and many of her offspring in a Jackson Hole backyard. The homeowner was not charged.

“Once a bear receives a human food reward, it can become food conditioned,” the park said in a statement. “Over time, food conditioned bears may become bold or aggressive in their attempts to obtain human food, as was the case with this bear.”

And after 962 became food-conditioned, conflicts began piling up. Between Sept. 3 and Oct. 10, she ate livestock feed three times, got into garbage eight times — six times on private lands and twice in the park — and caused private property damage three times.

Two grizzly bears run near a bison herd in Yellowstone National Park.

She’d become “increasingly bold” and had “demonstrated escalating conflict behavior” after repeatedly seeking out unsecured food sources, posing a threat to human safety, officials said. When other measures failed, the park said, 962 was euthanized in accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear guidelines and the park’s bear and wildlife management plan.

“Whether it’s hazing or relocation, a lot of times those efforts are successful,” said Rebekah Fitzgerald, communications director for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “But then there are those bears that are just persistent and they realize that there’s a food reward and they will just keep returning.”

According to Fitzgerald, securing garbage, birdseed and other potential food sources is the best way not only to keep bears out, but to prevent the bears from getting used to food rewards in the first place.


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