First grizzlies emerge in Yellowstone, Grand Teton
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. — On March 7, a Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologist on a radio telemetry flight observed the first grizzly bear of 2023 to emerge from hibernation. The adult bear, estimated at 300-350 pounds, was seen near the remains of a bison carcass in Pelican Valley, in the central-eastern part of the park.
The first bear sighting of 2022 also occurred on March 7.
Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in early March. Females with cubs emerge in April and early May. When bears emerge from hibernation, they look for food and often feed on elk and bison that died over the winter. Sometimes, bears will react aggressively to encounters with people when feeding on carcasses.
Early in the evening on March 22, the first grizzly bear of 2023 was observed in Grand Teton National Park. The first grizzly bear sighting of 2022 in the Jackson Hole area occurred on March 13.
“Spring visitors skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in Yellowstone National Park are reminded to carry bear spray and be especially alert for bears near carcasses and areas with early spring green-up. These are the first foods sought out by grizzlies after emerging from hibernations,” said Kerry Gunther, the park's bear management biologist.
Bear spray has proven effective in deterring bears defending cubs and food sources. It can also reduce the number of bears killed by people in self-defense.
Arizona's mountainous and high country areas are home to black bears. While not as aggressive as grizzly bears, visitors and residents are reminded to stay at least 100 yards away at all times.
Information provided by NPS
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