It’s so great to get reunited with some of the most famous bears in the USA. Grizzly 399 and her 6 year old daughter, 610.
Grizzly 399 has been gracing residents and visitors alike with her presence for over a decade. 6 years ago she gave birth to three cubs. Grizzly bears will typically become reproductively active between 3-8 years of age.
One of 399’s cubs was named 610. Just last June we witnessed both 399 and 610 out of hibernation with cubs in tow. Grizzlies may have anywhere from 1-4 cubs and those cubs are born in the den in January or February.
In 2011, 399 amazingly enough had three more cubs and 610 had two cubs.
In the middle of the summer, we started noticing that 610 was traveling and feeding with three cubs and the next day we noticed that 399 only had two in tow.
A rare cub swap had occurred! On occasion a sow bear will adopt orphaned cubs. What is unusual is that the orphaned cub’s mother (399) was alive and healthy.
What I believe happened is that 399 and 610 were foraging in close proximity. At times the cubs will get distracted and wander away from mom. I have seen it many times before where a cub will then look around for mom and then run towards her. I believe the cub was distracted, wandered off, saw another bear and then ran towards the other adult bear. As of last week, 610 is still caring for and teaching “the way of the bear” to her adopted cub.
Last summer the bear watching was incredible! All summer and fall on tours we were graced with the presence of these two families and a few other adult grizzlies in the northern section of Grand Teton National Park.
We only hope that we will be so lucky again.