Yellowstone National Park Reports First Grizzly Bear Sighting of 2021, Signaling Hibernation is Almost Over

by Will Shepard

Spring is right around the corner in the Northern Rocky Mountains. This means that bears are coming out of their winter hibernation and looking for food. In Yellowstone National Park, the first grizzly bear has been spotted coming out of its winter den.

Federal officials recently announced that the first grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park has been seen. The bear was seen on Saturday, March 13, from a plane.

At the time, a pilot was helping with a wildlife study. The grizzly bear was interacting with several wolves surrounding a carcass. It is not unusual for bears to be spotted around this time of year. Last year, the first bear was seen on March 7, so it is high time that bears begin their spring journey out for food.

This grizzly bear was seen near the northern part of Yellowstone National Park. Even though this is the first sighting of one of the giant animals, tracks have been seen meandering the park for the past two weeks.

Yellowstone National Park officials are asking people to use extra caution while traveling through the park. This means that visitors should be carrying bear spray with them at all times. They are also urging people to hike or ski in groups of at least three people and make lots of noise.

Park officials are also asking that people stay on regularly maintained trails. Their last request for visitors is that people keep their food, garbage, and other grizzly bear attractants in safe storage boxes.

Yellowstone National Park Reports the First Grizzly Bear Coming Out of Hibernation

Male grizzly bears typically come out of hibernation in early March. However, the females emerge in April and May with their cubs. When they come out of hibernation, they are extremely hungry. According to Yellowstone National Park officials, this makes them very aggressive.

Moreover, they will eat just about anything, which includes any kind of carcass. One biologist, Kerry Gunther, explains their habits after leaving their winter den.

“When bears first emerge from hibernation, they look for carcasses at lower elevations and spring vegetation in thermal meadows and south-facing slopes or nourishment.”

Consequently, Yellowstone National Park is restricting and even closing parts of the park. These went into effect on March 10 in grizzly bear management areas. Officials say that the entirety of the Park is bear country.

“From the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park is entirely bear country.”

So, if you are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, make sure you are prepared. Do a little bit of research on where to travel. And most importantly, bring a pair of binoculars to scan the area for grizzly bears.