Grizzly399 and her cubs

Say Hi to the Most Famous Bear of Grand Teton

Created on: 2021-06-18

Grizzly 399 is a poster child for the recovery of bears.

You may have noticed our love of bears. From the many bear carvings that dot the landscape of the hotel, to the signs, art and more, it is no secret we love bears, but one bear in particular has captured the heart of The Lodge as well as the town of Jackson.

A Great Grizzly

No grizzly bear has done more, through her own behavior, to change perception of her species. Grizzly 399 is a storied symbol of the area and her growing family have come to be a source of local pride. She has captured the hearts of nature watchers and photographers from around the world.

Grizzly 399 was born in a den in Pilgrim Creek, Wyoming, in the winter of 1996, and given her name as a research number by the Yellowstone Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. She resides on Federal land in a range of hundreds of miles throughout the Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Weighing in at almost 400 pounds and when standing upright on her hind legs, she is a massive 7 feet. Unlike the typical grizzly, she is famous for living in close proximity to humans. At age 25, she is older than is usual for a grizzly, as “more than 85 percent of them are killed because of some kind of human activity before they reach old age”.

Her Growing Family

Unlike the typical bear, Grizzly 399 regularly gives birth to triplets rather than twins. This typically has a paradoxical effect on the bear population. A mother bear with three cubs expends significantly more energy in caring for them, which can potentially decrease rather than increase the survival rate. Grizzly 399, conversely, has typically handled triplets well. One of her triplets grew to also be a prolific mother (thus far the only one of her cubs to also produce cubs) and was tagged for research as Grizzly 610. In 2011, Grizzly 610 had twins while Grizzly 399 had another set of triplets. The scientists observing the bears were concerned due to 399’s advanced age, but to their surprise Grizzly 610 amicably adopted one of her mother’s triplets.

Grizzly 399 has reared many successful progeny, including 16 cubs and grandcubs. Since awakening from hibernation near the end of April 2021, the famous grizzly bear and her same four cubs (which are getting bigger) have been spotted several times in and around the area. She has taught her growing offspring habits to benefit from rather than be harmed by human proximity, such as loitering during the fall elk hunt, and watching out for cars.

A Mighty Mascot

Grizzly 399 Graces Our Room Signs

To her fans, a view of 399 and her family is always a sought-after, welcomed sight, drawing thousands of photograph-taking spectators each year. Grizzly 399 even has her own Instagram page with over thirteen-thousand followers. To us at The Lodge at Jackson Hole, Grizzly 399 has become our unofficial resident mascot, welcoming guests from all over the world with an iconic image of Grizzly 399 on your room number. The splendid art was created by Thomas D. Mangelsen for our recent renovation, and we encourage you to photograph the art and share your memories on social media and beyond.