21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Pack of Bears

World famous grizzly bear 399 and her 4 subadult cubs stroll along the riverside outside of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. There are many issues with human-wildlife coexistence in the Jackson area outside of the park. Bear habituation has become a real issue for the bears and the people. However, maybe 20 years ago, bears were rarely seen in the area. Grizzly 399, comfortable around the roads, became the first relaxed grizzly bear around cars and people. She has also had at least 22 cubs, and those cubs have had cubs. She is the female bear almost singularly responsible for a blossoming and healthy grizzly population in the Tetons. However, with more bears and more people moving to Jackson, especially in the wake of covid -- there are more and more opportunities for conflict. About a week after I made this image, 399 kicked out her cubs, which is normal life for 3 year old grizzly cubs. The two collared bears are both male, and unfortunately one of them was put down by Fish and Game not more than 2 weeks after this image, because he was going into town and getting into garbage. A food conditioned bear is a dead bear in the West. This was an incredibly special and rare moment. 399 is a great Mom, as all 4 of her cubs survived through their subadult-hood with her.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 04.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: Jackson, Wyoming, United States of America
Camera: ILCE-7RM4
Copyright: © Kate Ochsman