Grizzly bear lineage: I had someone ask a few weeks ago if grizzly #211 (known to many as ‘Scarface’) had any descendents or offspring they could look for in the park. Now, with new advances in DNA, when the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) capture, collar and tag grizzlies, they also take DNA samples for reference. These can be compared against other samples into the future, and help identify genetic relatedness. The only bears that use to have DNA collected were those that had been handled and captured. Nowadays, DNA can be obtained via non-invasive methods such as 'hair snares' or 'hair corrals' which instigate the bear to rub against an object; the researcher can retrieve hair later and send it to the lab to be analyzed.
Based on information that has been gathered, there is one bear we know if the offspring of bear #211, and that is #665.
Brief history: Grizzly bear #86 was born around 1970. On July 5, 1982, at age 12, she was captured at Antelope Creek, YNP; that year she was observed with no cubs. Two years later, July 5, 1984, she was captured again at Antelope Creek, YNP; this year, she was observed with three yearlings. In 1985, she booted all three offspring. One of those bears was #125. Grizzly #125 was first captured August 6, 1986 at Antelope Creek, YNP. She was captured again during July 1, 1990, that year observed with two cubs-of-the-year (COY). In 1991, she still had her two cubs as yearlings, and in 1992 she booted her two cubs at two-years old. In 1994, she was observed with her second litter of two COY. However, during the fall of 1995 when she was captured on October 13, neither cub was anywhere to be found. In 1997, her third litter of two COY was observed; during 1998 she had both cubs as yearlings. She would not have cubs again until 2002, where she for the fourth time, had a litter of two COY. One of those COY was grizzly #665. She would later be struck by a vehicle that year. #125 was again collared in 2006 at age 23 and was observed with three COY in 2007. That same year, #665 was observed with two COY (prior to collaring). Later during the year, #125 was observed with only 1 cub; #665, then unmarked, was observed with 4 cubs. It is suspected that #665 adopted her mother's (#125) cubs after they had been separated from her.
#665 was involved in a management capture near the Yellowstone River in 2010, the perpetrator of chicken depredations. She was relocated to Arnica Creek with her two COY. At the time, DNA was confirmed she was the offspring of #125 and #211, making her the daughter of the late ‘Scarface.’ She received the nickname “the Dunraven sow,” as many observed her near Dunraven Pass. The following year, she unfortunately was observed with no offspring. She later dropped her collar on Halloween in 2011 near Sulfur Creek, YNP.
The fate of #665 is unknown, and we may never know if she is alive, or deceased. Being 9 years old in 2011 would place her at about 16 years old. She could very well still be out in the wilds of Yellowstone.
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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