Grizzly mom No. 399 ready to send cubs packing. No. 399 finds a new mate, meaning kids have to fend for themselves. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Grand Teton National Park’s most famous grizzly has, as grizzlies do, sent her children packing after 2 1/2 years.

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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

26 Responses to Grizzly 399 finds a new mate, meaning kids have to fend for themselves.

  1. avatar dave smith says:

    This is not cute. You can count on dead bears in the future. Habituated roadside bears tend to die young. I see no difference between all the “tourists” taking souvineer pictures and all the so- called “wildlife photographers” making money off these bears. The whole situation is a 100% predictable train wreck. The wildlife photographers will blame it on tourists, as if bears know the difference between being habituated by a tourist and being habituated by a wildlife photographer. A dead bear is a dead bear is a dead bear.

  2. avatar Dave says:

    Maybe it’s time to bring out the rubber bullets. I agree with dave smith that these bears should be discouraged from hanging out near the road. Sooner or later, someone is going to toss them a hot dog, and then their fate will be sealed.

  3. avatar JB says:

    dave smith:

    Please don’t assume that all wildlife photographers are alike! There are many of us who carry cameras into the wild (and sell our photography) who take animal welfare very seriously. Grouping us all together is akin to grouping all hunters or all tourists together. There is just too much variation in people’s ethical practices to say we are all cast from the same mold.

  4. avatar Buffaloed says:

    FYI

    Word on the street today is that a member of the Hayden Pack was killed today in Red Canyon north of Hebgen Lake. The excuse that I’ve heard is that it was “stalking children”.

    Can you say “Bullshit”?

  5. I heard that too, and hope to find out more.

    The Hayden Pack has been in that area.

  6. avatar tetonhiker says:

    Will they do a necropsy and determine “who” this wolf is?

    How old is the griz sow, #399?

    Thank you!

  7. I talked with Carolyn Sime this morning. She said it was an uncollared lone wolf of unknown origin.

  8. avatar Devin says:

    Dave Smith,
    I think your comments about wildlife photographers is off base. Wildlife photographers do not want to harm these animals and most do all in their power to give them as much room so as to not disturb them. There is a reason there are 600-800mm lenses and extenders….
    While watching the Druid pack in Yellowstone this weekend with several commentors from here, no photographer or spotting scope watcher did anything to interrupt the wolves lifestyle. A group of Japanese tourists did however walk right down towards the wolf clearly in the DO NOT WALK/PARK/STOP are and scared it off. I was very impressed with the professionals ethics

  9. avatar dave smith says:

    “Rember that even in national parks, bears are wild animals. Don’t make the misake of thinking a roadside bear is ‘tame’ and it’s ok to get out of your car and approach. Bear experts say the kindest thing you can do is honk your horn, try to get the bear to leave, and keep driving. Most roadside bears lead unnaturally short lives. Stopping to photograph them just gets them more habituated to humans.” p.168, Living With Bears, Tom Beck, scientific advisor.

    Anybody know what happened to grizzly #264 in Yellowstone, a favorite roadside bear of the notorious Jim Cole? Anybody know how many habituated roadside grizzlies on the N. Fork of the Shoshone have died in recent years?

    Even if Grand Teton NP has a defacto policy saying its ok to stick by the road and photograph grizzly #399, every individual has to decide if it’s the right thing to do, or the wrong thing. Given the situation, I wouldn’t honk my horn at the bears and people, but I chose not to be part of it. If #399 or her offspring get killed, there won’t be any blood on my hands. Can well-behaved wildlife photographers who participate say the same?

  10. avatar Devin says:

    I don’t think we really could blame anyone should the bears be hit (unless the motorist was speeding and not paying attn)…its just one of the cons of a national park with lots of road way and tourists. You’re not going to stop the tourists nor are you going to stop the drivers. If you are really concerned about the safety of these animals you can always just start walking or riding a bike instead. Seriously

  11. avatar dave smith says:

    The reason I said “every individual” has to make a decision is that I wasn’t talking about tourists in general, or wildlife photographers in general, but individual people who can choose NOT to be part of the problem. I don’t regard “lots of people behave badly” as an excuse for my personal decision to behave badly when there are alternatives to behaving badly. Now that wolves have been delisted, “lots of people are killing wolves for fun and sport” is not a legitimate excuse for you to shoot a wolf. Is it?

  12. avatar Buffaloed says:

    As far as the wolf is concerned there is video of it on BFC’s Blog here. It is confirmed that this is the wolf who was shot and there had been complaints of it being too habituated.

    http://blog.buffalofieldcampaign.org/2008/05/28/video-from-the-field-508-wolf-investigates-buffalo-in-horse-butte-subdivision/

  13. avatar Brent McWhirter says:

    I am a wildlife photographer in Jackson, WY and I can tell you from experience that the photographer quoted in that article does keep his distance along with every professional I know. The earlier post seems too general and as a responsible professional I take offense to those comments because they pigeon-hole a group of people that care about and try everything they can (because our livelihoods depend on it) to preserve and protect the environment and all of its creatures. I will give you the point that tourists sometimes get too close but also generalizing them also is unfair. What I just want people to know is that wildlife photographers and tourists mostly are responsible its just the minority that cause these ugly generalizations to spread.
    I hope that bear #399 and her cubs all survive and that we will see her next spring with more cubs because she was a really great mother to her three very healthy cubs. I had multiple chances to photograph and observe #399 and her cubs over the last two years and it is something I will always remember. I would never forgive myself if something happened to an animal because of my poor judgment and irresponsible behavior and that is why I have spent so much money on very large lenses( i.e. 600mm ) so I would never put myself or the animals I photograph in harm.

  14. Carolyn Sime, Montana’s wolf coordinator, told me the wolf had killed a black lab in the subdivision and passed through several Forest Service campgrounds a number of times.

    She said the Hayden Pack was last located visually in the Ruby Mountains wells to the north — 3 light grays and one black (no doubt the “black pup,” now a yearling). There had been five in the pack, so this light gray wolf might have been one that left the Haydens. Then too, it might be a lone wolf from somewhere else.

  15. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I had heard info from two different sources and jumped the gun.

    It looks from the video that the wolf was pretty comfortable around people and the subdivision. I am not saying that I think it should have been killed but it was not in the best place for a wolf to be in. I guess I don’t know exactly what should have been done in this circumstance but I worry that the 50 cent seems to be the norm these days (bullets).

  16. avatar Robert says:

    From the Montana FWP weekly wolf report published on May 23:
    “Back on the 15th, FWP wardens investigated a report of a wolf attack on a domestic dog (lab) in the Horse Butte area near West Yellowstone. The dog is OK. Bison are calving in the area and that may be attracting the apparently lone wolf. It has been seen close to houses and FWP -Ross and others- are closely monitoring the situation and will remove the wolf.”

    It seems like this wolf’s fate was sealed some time ago.

    FWP’s last wolf monotoring flight on May 5 did put the Hayden Pack in the Rubys. See
    http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf/swwmtreport.html

  17. avatar JB says:

    DS said: “Given the situation, I wouldn’t honk my horn at the bears and people, but I chose not to be part of it. If #399 or her offspring get killed, there won’t be any blood on my hands. Can well-behaved wildlife photographers who participate say the same?”

    In my opinion, that depends on how they participate. I’ve photographed many animals along roadsides from afar, while tourists rushed up to take photos with their point and shoots–I’m still waiting for my prize-winning, tourist-gets-gored shot. 😉

    Most nature photographers I know want to be far enough away to (1) be safe and (2) ensure they don’t change the animal’s behavior. However, getting close has its benefits too, and there will always be some overzealous photogs who try and push the limit. You’re right, it’s all a matter of individual choice. Unfortunately, making the right choice (for the animal) often takes knowledge that most folks don’t posses.

    I also have to point out that for many people, seeing a grizzly is a once in a lifetime experience. They’ve traveled hundreds (often thousands) of miles to come to YNP/GTNP in the hopes of seeing a grizzly or a wolf. To suggest that they simply drive away when one is so near the road…well, if you’ve recently roped a leprechaun I suppose you could make a wish…but short of that, I’m guessing you’ve got yourself a pipe dream. No offense–it just ain’t gonna happen.

  18. avatar timz says:

    Another killing, supossedly in self defense.

    http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/05/29/bnews/br19.txt

  19. avatar Save bears says:

    Timz,

    Why would you doubt it was in self defence? Now I do see a situation here, that bear spray may have worked and avoided killing the wolf….

    But without more information, I can’t say anyone could make a determination that it was not self defence..

  20. avatar timz says:

    Only because wolf attacks on people are so rare. My guess, and without more info as you said it’s a guess, it was probably more panic than self defense.

  21. avatar dave smith says:

    Why are people posting about wolf issues here when the topic is grizzly bear 399 in Grand Teton NP? What does a black bear hunter in NW Montana shooting a wolf have to do with grizzly bear 399 in WY?

  22. avatar Overlander says:

    Ralph, can you post the dead wolves in a separate thread?

  23. This thread is getting screwed up, and it’s partly my fault. Please don’t post any more about the dead gray wolf on this thread. Webmaster.

  24. avatar Overlander says:

    From the other thread:

    Another killing, supossedly in self defense.

    http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/05/29/bnews/br19.txt

  25. I’ve probably gleaned more satisfaction from watching and photographing #399 and her cubs in the last three years than most people could ever understand. The fact that the grizzlies are still here in N.W. Wyoming still gives it that sense of wilderness lacking in so many areas of the west.

    To tell someone to “honk” or just drive on by when they observe a bear, is to deny that individual(s) the experience of observing one of natures most magnificent creatures in it’s “natural environment”.

    Responsible viewing is the name of the game. I think maybe it’s time the rangers start citing people for violating the 100 yard perimeter beyond which people are required to remain with respect to bear and wolves. On occasion the bears will be observed at closer range, if for example when crossing a road, or walking through a meadow near a devoloped area. Otherwise, instead of simply stopping traffic if a bear is about to cross the roadway, maybe people who exit their vehicles and approach the animals should be warned, and then cited if they don’t respond appropriately.

    We get warnings about approaching buffalo when entering YNP, but nothing is said about the bears. Why? Too many people still think feeding the animals is cute, or that they are helping the animals, or that it might allow them to get a better shot on their Point-and-Shoot camera. Education would help, warnings appropriate, and citations a deterrent. Not a “cure all” for the problem, but a step in the right direction.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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