The 24-year-old grizzly bear can be seen with four cubs in tow.
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is home to many wild animals and one of the country's amazing natural treasures. One resident of the park is a 24-year-old female grizzly bear known by the tag number 399. Grizzly 399 is a bit of a celebrity in the bear world—she even has her own Twitter and Facebook pages—and is the reason many come to the park, hoping to catch a glimpse.
The bear is an experienced mama and has raised several offspring in her life. In fact, at least 22 bears can be traced back to her as the mother or grandmother. Grizzly 399 went into hibernation for the winter and had many folks worried, as she is getting on in age. Plus, the park got over 11 feet of snow this winter and hit temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero, so many were concerned.
However, when photographer Thomas Mangelsen shared a stunning photograph he took of the mama bear a few weeks ago, not only had 399 emerged from hibernation, but she also had four bear cubs with her. Though she is an experienced mother, this is the first quad birth for 399. The pictures are extraordinary, and the cubs are just as cute as can be!
The cubs and 399 all appear healthy and are growing, showing a noticeable increase in size in pictures taken a few weeks apart.
Grizzly 399 has been the target of hunters and the center of arguments over removing her species from the protected species list. She is an example of how vitally important healthy female bears are to the grizzly population, as several of her offspring are now mothers themselves.
She has raised her cubs in the public eye and is known for being a very peaceful bear; however, there was one incident in which she mauled a passerby. That happened in 2007 when a man got too close to her three cubs as they fed on an elk carcass. The park determined at the time that the bear behaved out of instinct and not aggression. The victim survived.
Mangelsen lives near Yellowstone National Park and is known for capturing amazing shots of wildlife in the area. He has been documenting the life of 399 for over a decade and knows a great deal about the bear and her species. He has shared many pictures and videos chronicling life with his "bear family".
Another Wyoming-based photographer, Greg Balvin, was able to capture both photos and video of the mama bear and her four cubs. Check out the video posted below: