Friday, April 13, 2007

They're alive!

I found out today that all three grizzly cubs survived their first winter and are out and visible in Grand Teton National Park. Here are my notes from the first time I saw them, June 13, 2006

"Then I went on up to Colter Bay and just before the turnoff – literally a hundred yards from the sign, SHE and her three clowns emerged. I was the first to see bear 399 (who is collared, said to be 10 years old, and to have lost her only previous cub, last year.) Of course I wasn’t the only one for long, but that early – it was about 6:40 – there aren’t a lot of people around. She led the kids southward along the embankment above the road for a bit, then crossed, then crossed back into the trees. What an absolute thrill, such a handsome dark chocolate bear. It’ll be a miracle if more than one cub survives two years, but right now the little boogers are quite the handful."

My emphasis on SHE refered to the fact that I had been in the park for several days and this bear and her cubs had been seen by literally hundreds of people, except me. I saw them once more, the following morning. But I never expected to hear that all three cub survived the winter - albeit a mild one. They are still at great risk, most especially from boar grizzlies, but at least the first great hurdle has been surmounted. In fact, it may very well be that the reason the sow stays in the vicinity of the road and human activity is that the adult males might be less inclined to bother her and her brood there.

God willing, they will still be around and visible when I get there again in June.

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