Grizzly 79 was first captured and marked by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team in 1981 at seven-years-old. Grizzly 79 was a so-called ‘frequent flyer’ in the northern section of Yellowstone National Park, well known and recognized by park officials and the local community of Gardiner, MT. Over the next decade, she would remain close and exhibit high fidelity to her home range. She was relocated numerous times, only to find her way back.
Nearly 29-years ago, grizzly 79 found herself in the town of Gardiner, Montana, with her two, yearling cubs (179 & 182). On August 21, 1990, Grizzly 79 and her cubs (179, 182) were trapped for management reasons and relocated. Grizzly 79 was relocated to the remote southeast location of Thorofare, YNP. In contrast, her two yearling cubs (179 & 182) were relocated to Glade Creek, now located in the present-day John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway (JDRMP).
Grizzly 79 was able to navigate Yellowstone and its surrounding communities, without ever being removed. It is remarkable, however, that she was captured 8-times during her life, 7-times for management reasons. Unfortunately, Grizzly 79 was shot and killed by a hunter who claimed self-defense in 1996. Never once in her 22-years in the ecosystem did researchers or community members record an aggressive encounter between her and people. During her nearly two decades in the ecosystem, grizzly 79 was responsible for siring approximately ten litters of cubs (grizzly 179 had six litters in her life, and grizzly 182 was known to have one litter).
August 1990 marked the beginning for these two young grizzlies, now on their own for the first time. Grizzly 179 took up residence in the region in and around the eastern extent of Grand Teton National Park, while her sibling grizzly 182, headed north to the area around Heart Lake, YNP. Both siblings were female, and both bears had their first litters of cubs by age 7. Grizzly 179, unlike her sibling, chose to share her life more intimately with biologists and researchers. Since 1990, grizzly 179 was captured over half a dozen times, her sibling 182 only twice. Grizzly bears with such extensive life histories as 79, 179, and 182 have contributed tremendous amounts of data that help us better understand the species, their biology, and the issues they currently face. Our ability to monitor daily, seasonal and annual movements & activities of these bears is undoubtedly a major contributing factor to their overall recovery and conservation success of the present day.
Tyler Brasington is a native born and raised Pennsylvanian, yet proud current Wisconsin resident. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a B.S. in Environmental Science. Currently, Tyler is pursuing his masters in Natural Resources with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He has worked in Yellowstone National Park under the guidance and supervision of Dr. George Clokey and Dr. Jim Halfpenny.
Disclaimer: The information and views expressed on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Interior, US Geological Survey, National Park Service or the United States Government.
The Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Project
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