No beings are more appreciative and admiring of mother grizzly 399 than her 17 cubs. She has lost about half of her descendants due to their encounters with people or male bears. However, she was able to keep nearly all her cubs alive through their first two years of danger by learning to stay near Grand Teton National Park ("GTNP") roads and visitors.
Here is an example of some, but not all the lineage of 399. She is known to have given birth to the three sets of triplets. The first set born in 2006 included the bears 587 (died in 2013), 615 (died in 2009), and 610 (still alive). The second set of triplets born in 2011 included an unidentified male (status unknown but was adopted by 399's daughter 610 in 2011), a male named Brownie (died in 2012), and a female named Ash (died in 2012). The third set of triplets were born in 2013. All are unidentified, but one is known to have perished in 2014. 399 also gave birth to a single cub in the spring of 2016 that was named Snowy for the white ringed hair around his neck. Snowy was killed by a hit and run speeding car at night along the roadside in the Colter Bay area near Pilgrim Creek early that summer.
399's daughter 610 is still alive to this day roaming in the southern areas of GTNP. She gave birth to a set of twins in 2011, a single cub in 2014, a set of twins in 2015, another set of twins in 2019, and then triplets in the spring of 2022. An unusual circumstance occurred in the summer of 2011. When 610 was a five year old bear, she adopted one of 399's triplet cubs and brought it into her family of twins!
399 came out of her den in Pilgrim Creek in GTNP in the Covid spring of 2020, at an old mother grizzly age of 25, with quadruplet cubs in tow. What a sensation for Jackson Hole and visitors it was! The cubs were raised by their mother in GTNP along with the occasional walk about through the Jackson Hole valley including the town of Jackson, and as far south of the town as the Snake River Sporting Club. They found some easy food sources like chicken coops, beehives, bird feeders and garbage cans. They were even caught on video late one evening walking through the jail parking lot in the town of Jackson. In the late summer of 2021, the US Fish and Wildlife Service trapped and collared two of the cubs while they were around the Snake River Sporting Club. The following summer of 2022, 399 kicked them out to be on their own, as mother grizzlies do. After leaving their mother, two of the cubs, one of them being a collared one, ventured south to the Cora, Wyoming area where the local population failed to store various food attractants properly. One of the cubs was subsequently euthanized as a result of human error and the determination by Wyoming Game and Fish that the cub had become habituated to human food. The location of the other three cubs is unknown to the general public at this time.
399 fans and groupies are anxious to see what evolves in the spring of 2023 regarding 399. After kicking her four cubs out in the summer of 2022, she had a short lived but lively romance with a big male bear named Bruno. Then she became more elusive throughout the summer of 2022. Hopes of the 27-year-old bear emerging with another cub or cubs from her den in spring of 2023 are yet to be realized. 399's legacy and lineage are something for the record books and a reminder of how human conflict with the grizzly bear has a great deal of room for improvement, but is most possible by her example.
(Tim Tennyson, February 2023)