One of the world’s oldest — and most famous — grizzly bears living outside of a zoo, was recently seen alive and well at Yellowstone Park.
Known by a number, 399, instead of a name, not only is she alive at age 24 — but she also has new four baby cubs!
“Miraculously, she still lives!” stated photographer Thomas Mangelsen, as reported by The Guardian.
Grizzlies in the Yellowstone region have become endangered after their numbers dipped to less than 150 … and scientists feared they would disappear altogether.
Thankfully, habitat protection, crackdowns on poaching, and a ban on hunting have helped the grizzlies recover.
399 has become the poster child for the recovery of the bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
Born in 1996, 399 demonstrated the importance of healthy female bears to an overall population because she has produced at least 22 cubs to help the population grow.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy for young grizzlies to survive. Half of 399’s bloodline has died.
One was shot by a hunter, another was killed for preying on cattle, and a few have been struck by cars.
There is talk about allowing sport hunting for bears again in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho … and the possible removal of endangered species protections for the grizzlies.
At Karmagawa, we sure hope not. We love these bears and we think they should be allowed to live life freely so the world doesn’t lose another population of beautiful creatures.
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What do you think about the possibility of sport hunting being allowed back at Yellowstone? Leave a comment below.