GB399 is commonly referred to as "the matriarch" in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). She is arguable one of the most iconic and famous grizzlies in the ecosystem, thanks to photographers, and visitors.
GB399 is 21 years old. She was captured and collared on August 25, 2016 with a new collar for research purposes. Last year her only surviving cub-of-the-year (COY) was struck and killed by a vehicle inside GTNP. With much skepticism, she surprised many by emerging from her den this spring with two new COY.
Many were fortunate to observe GB399 the past several evenings foraging with her cubs on berries. Berries and other fruits are typically consumed by grizzlies in late summer going into fall. Because of their availability, berries and other fruits make up a very small portion of grizzly bear diets. Berries are a great source of carbohydrates to bears; that in combination with high protein foods (meats, etc) maximizes the grizzlies ability to promote fat growth and fat storage.
In the coming years, it is possible that as whitebark pine fails and grizzlies begin to shift to other sources, that berries may become a critical component in their summer-fall diets. This has already happened in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, where whitebark pine is almost non-existent and has disappeared; now berries make up nearly 85% of the summer-fall diet (Mattson et al. 1991a, McLellan 2011, Fortin et al. 2013, Erlenbach et al. 2014, Ripple et al. 2014, Ripple et al. 2015, Costello et al. 2016a)
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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