Two yearlings of Grizzly 399 have been collared in an attempt to keep them out of trouble
This weekend two of the four yearling cubs from the famous grizzly bear 399 were captured and collared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This comes after the famous grizzly bear and her yearlings have traveled south outside of Grand Teton National Park. The bears have been lingering near homes and getting into human sources of food, including beehives, animal feed and garbage.
In an effort to prevent the bears from getting into more trouble, officials collared the two bears who weigh over 200 pounds each. Wayne Kasworm with the service said the collars should help keep an eye on the bears.
"Those collars enable us to tell folks a little bit about bears in the area and where they are. The collars also enable us to deal with things. Admittedly some of these are after the fact," said Kasworm.
Some of those things include electric fences or hide-sided containers around livestock feed or garbage.
Hilary Cooley, the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the service, said by being able to monitor the bear family, the service can try to stop them from getting into disruptive conflicts.
"That would be very problematic if 399, a famous bear with her four yearlings, starts breaking into buildings. And so we can't let it get there," said Cooley. "And so that is what we're trying to do. We're trying to prevent this situation from getting any worse. We want 399 and her four yearlings to den. Last year, they didn't den till January, but we are committed to trying everything we can do to get to them safely."
Another tool commonly used for disruptive bears is relocation. This is on the service's radar but relocating five bears is complicated. So, Cooley said they are taking the situation day by day.
"We are putting an extraordinary amount of resources towards 399 because she is highly popular," said Cooley. "And whether we like it or not, she's an ambassador. And we just feel like this is necessary for this bear."
The newly collared bear family passed through the heart of residential Jackson Tuesday night heading north. Officials hope that they will return to the park and find food from the elk reduction hunt that started this weekend. They ask people to stay vigilant if they have bears around their homes and to make sure that all food sources like bird feed and garbage are bear secured.