Famed Grizzly Bear 399 Offspring Killed in Wyoming

by Emily Morgan

On Tuesday, Wyoming Game and Officials killed one of grizzly bear 399’s four cubs. According to Dan Thompson, carnivore supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish, a young grizzly, known as 1057, was captured and killed by officials due to behaving “highly human food conditioned.” He also revealed that it was because of “continued bold behavior around residences.”

Thompson added that the agency made the difficult decision based on the grizzly bear’s previous history and current behavior.

“Management actions and subsequent decisions were conducted as a result of constant communication between personnel within the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” he added.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department requested authorization to kill grizzly 1057 because of the “dangerous behavior.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized this action out of concern for human safety as this bear became more emboldened in their behavior while seeking food rewards and habituation to the presence of humans,” said Thompson.

Thompson said he was concerned about the cubs’ safety, as there had been occasions where the bears were getting into human trash.

“This particular bear was taught this behavior the past two years from the maternal female,” Thompson added.

However, some are criticizing the agencies’ decision. Jack and Gina Bayles, wildlife advocates and guides in the Yellowstone Area, spoke out against the authorized kill.

“Things stay the same in Wyoming,” they wrote on Facebook. “Cora, Wyoming has a population of 142 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Game and Department couldn’t figure out how to get them to put their food away so they executed 1057 instead.”

Critics slam agency for authorized kill, others blame residents: ‘It’s our responsibility to change’

In addition, Paul Ulrich said that it was a “sad day for wildlife.” He added, “This is a failure on our part, a failure to eliminate rewards and reduce conflict. I hate to see it come to this. We need to do better. We need to find better short and long-term solutions that don’t involve authorized kill.”

However, Ulrich also defended the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He said that the department was doing “the best they can” but placed the burden on Wyoming residents to take responsibility.

“We are encroaching, we are rewarding, and it’s our responsibility to change,” he concluded.

Wildlife Photographer Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven also blamed the bear’s behavior on humans that didn’t remember the saying “a fed bear is a dead bear.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said in an interview. “Any animal that has to be put down is heartbreaking because typically it involves people behaving badly.”

Grizzly 399 and the cubs first appeared back in mid-April. Wildlife officials later removed them from Jackson in November after officials found them near houses.