Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)
These towering behemoths stand as one of the biggest attractions for the 4 million visitors traveling through the park every year, and with good reason. At 8 feet tall and 800 pounds, grizzly bears are truly a spectacle to witness. Despite their reputation as fierce carnivores, devouring anything in their path, they are actually omnivores – most of their diet consists of berries, fruits, nuts, and leaves. You can see them early in the summer along the main road in the park, and they occasionally visit the station. While they once lived in most of western North America, and occasionally even spent time on the Great Plains, overhunting and habitat loss due to human development greatly reduced their population and range. Everywhere grizzlies reside, even within the park, conflict with humans becomes a consistent topic of discussion and tension. People getting attacked attempting to get that once-in-a-lifetime selfie or loss of livestock causes countless issues for wildlife management agencies and politicians.
Grizzly 399 (pictured here) is possibly the most famous bear in the world and a legend of Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). At 24 years of age, especially after losing her cubs to a roadside collision several years ago, people wonder every year how much longer she will survive. But this year, her ever-growing fan club was shocked to see her come out of hibernation with 4 cubs! To learn more about these unique ursids, read here.
Written by Timothy Uttenhove
PC: Anna Cressman