Celebrity Sightings: Grizzly 399 and the Perils of Human Interaction

On July 12, 2022, Grizzly 1057 was killed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Officials cited “increasingly dangerous behavior” around humans at the edges of  Bridger-Teton National Forest as the reason for this decision. Grizzly 1057 was the son of Grizzly 399, one of the most well-known bears in the world. Over 20 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are descended from her, and her fame has brought global attention to grizzly bears and their conservation.

Grizzly 399 and her most recent litter of cubs, including 1057. Image by StevenPDeVries, used under CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

399 has been hailed as an “icon of motherhood” by many and is seen as spearheading grizzly bears’ return to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Much of her success as a mother has been attributed to the fact that she raises her cubs near human habitation. Unfortunately, this proximity to humans comes with the disadvantage of cubs growing up habituated to human presence, a trait the Forest Department deems “unnatural.”

How did grizzly bears – long a symbol of the Great Outdoors – become so habituated to human presence that they show up in their backyards? To answer this question, this podcast traces the development of tourism and skiing in Jackson Hole to see how this affected human-bear interactions in this part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Grizzly 399 and her latest litter of cubs exploring human habitation. “Grizzly 399 and All Four Cubs” by Eric Kilby, used under  CC BY-SA 2.0, via openverse.org.


Thank you so much to Dr. Judith A. Miller for such a wonderful class, and for making it accessible regardless of experience with snowsports! A big thank you also to all the photographers and conservationists who have worked tirelessly to advocate for the grizzlies of the Greater Yellowstone area. Lastly, I would like to thank user Erokia on freesound.org, whose sound “Ambient Wave 41” I used for this project.


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One Reply to “Celebrity Sightings: Grizzly 399 and the Perils of Human Interaction”

  1. State officials are ill-equipped to effectively deal with human conflict. Instead of killing wildlife, we should impose MUCH stronger actions against humans.

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