According to media reports Tuesday, the sole cub of one of the US’s most beloved grizzly bears was reportedly struck and killed by a car on Sunday evening in Grand Teton national park in Wyoming, prompting mourning among lovers of the mother animal known as 399.
As reported by The Dodo, Yyoming Wildlife Advocates announced the news in a Facebook post: “399’s cub, known as Snowy or Spirit by the bear watchers of Grand Teton, was adored for its antics and notably white face and will be sorely missed.”
Park officials will not have official confirmation that the bear cub hit and killed on Sunday evening was 399’s cub until they conduct DNA testing.
On Sunday night, “Snowy,” Grizzly 399’s single cub born this year, known for his distinctly blonde face, was hit by a car near an area where Grizzly 399 was commonly spotted — Pilgrim Creek. Snowy was simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“399 has been one of the grand dames of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” says nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen.
“It is heart-wrenching to think that her last cub seems to have been killed in a hit-and-run accident,” says Mangelsen, who featured 399 and extended clan in the recent book Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek. (This author wrote the book’s narrative.)
“The survival of individual grizzlies is tenuous because they face so many threats,” Mangelsen adds. “399 was a smart, attentive mother who knew how to navigate the front country of Grand Teton and taught her cubs to also be savvy. 399 isn’t a menace nor is she tame but is rather highly tolerant of people. Bears like her and her offspring will matter more and more as human population builds.”
The cub of world-famous Grizzly 399 was struck and killed by a car in Grand Teton National Park https://t.co/Cc9yN1SduE
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) June 21, 2016