In Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming , grizzly bear 399’s four cubs held up traffic to wrestle and chew on traffic cones.
Onlookers kept their distance from the young cubs; however, they were a big hit with park guests. The 24-year-old female, grizzly 399, was nowhere to be seen, but it was suspected that she was close by in the brush. Having four cubs at 399’s age is rare.
“But the cubs are just having a ball, playing with the cones and wrestling,” says the videographer. “This is a pretty remarkable chance sighting of these guys. So much fun.”
Grizzly 399, known in short as just 399, is one of the oldest known grizzly bears outside of captivity. The oldest with children documented in the Yellowstone’s region was 27. She is also one of the most well-known grizzlies.
Many were worried that 399 wouldn’t survive the hard winter at such an old age, but once appearing in the spring with her four cubs, admirers worldwide were thrilled.
The 350-pound bear is mother to at least 22 children and grandchildren, but unfortunately, about half in her bloodline has died.
In 1975 grizzly bear numbers dropped to 150. In response, bears in the Yellowstone region were given protection under the Endangered Species Act. Their numbers boomed back to nearly 700 in the area. It is seen as one of the most significant conversation triumphs in the US.
In 2007, 399 mauled a Wyoming man that got a little too close to her and her babies elk dinner. The man survived; however, the park ruled that 399 would not be euthanized. The park superintendent determined 399’s attack to be out of natural protection for her children and food.
[H/T Cowboy State Daily]