"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold




"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Grand Teton National Park - Angry Grizzly Bear Mother

The ferociousness of a mother grizzly defending her cubs is legendary.  On the afternoon of the thirty first of May we had the opportunity to witness just how determined one grizzly sow was to keep another female away from her cub.  In previous posts I have mentioned that there are currently three “celebrity” bears in Grand Teton National Park.  One is 399, who has one cub of the year. One is 610, who has two cubs, born last year.  The third is called Blondie.  When Blondie was last seen, just before hibernation last winter, she had two cubs, both two years old.  For unknown reasons Blondie emerged from hibernation without her cubs which led to her being in estrus this spring.
When we arrived at Pilgrim Creek Road there were already scores of people on the scene.  Cheryl walked down the road to find out which bear was causing the jam and its location.  She texted that a bear was coming my way. I quickly found a spot to await developments.  I soon saw that Blondie was digging for roots and insects in a thin stand of willows nearby…



Her next text was that 399 and cub were coming down the hill in the direction of Blondie.  It did not take long for Blondie to realize that an angry sow, with cub in tow, was heading her way…


In an instant Blondie was in full speed escape mode as she rounded the willows heading straight for me and the other onlookers…


For the next several minutes all was pandemonium as 399 pursued Blondie around the meadow while the young cub, called Snowy, struggled to keep up…




The chase brought both adult bears within yards of the road where mothers tried to rush their children to safety while the rangers urged bystanders to remain calm and to not move.  One ranger said to us later that “asking people not to run in such a situation was like asking them not to breath”…





During the frenzied pursuit of Blondie the cub was forgotten by 399.  Unable to keep up Snowy ducked into an island of trees to escape the chaos.  When 399 realized that Snowy was nowhere in sight she stopped pursuing Blondie and began looking for the cub…





It was easy to see that 399 was stressed and anxious about Snowy…








Fortunately, they reunited a short time later, and were last seen continuing their dogged pursuit of Blondie…



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