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Famous Grand Teton Grizzly Bear Emerges With Four Cubs

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Tom Mangelsen
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Grizzly 399 photographed with an earlier trio of cubs.

Typically, grizzly bears give birth to single or twin cubs. But Grizzly 399 is not a typical bear. She's given birth to multiple sets of triplets. And this spring, the Yellowstone region's most famous bear showed up in Grand Teton National Park with four cubs by her side.

"I mean, it's just unbelievable that she would have four," said Tom Mangelsen, a world renowned wildlife photographer based in Jackson, Wyoming, who's been documenting Grizzly 399 for more than a decade.

Mangelsen said he spotted her back in November. "She was as fat and healthy as I've ever seen her in all the 12 years I've known her," he said.

On Monday, the first day that Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks opened to the public, grizzly watchers, Mangelsen included, spotted 399 after she emerged from her den with the cubs in tow.

"Her being 24 years old, everybody was saying she's too old to have any more cubs. No, she's good for at least, I think, two more rounds," Mangelsen said. "It's amazing."

Photos and videos of 399 and her four cubs have been posted to the Instagram account dedicated to the park's matriarch.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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