The first bears have begun to emerge from hibernation at Yellowstone National Park, and mothers are bringing their cubs with them. There's still snow on the ground, and the youngsters have wasted no time exploring it. Photographer and videographer TetonMountainMan shared footage of two cubs rolling and playfighting in the powder on his wildlife Instagram account ExploreWildPlaces.
Rangers at Yellowstone spotted the park's first grizzly coming out of hibernation in late March. Now that the park has reopened for the summer season, they have shared some tips for staying safe when cubs are about.
"As cute and fuzzy as they are, remember to give wildlife room to roam," says the National Park Service. "Always maintain a distance of at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk."
A photo posted by on
Yellowstone is home to both black bears (which can be brown or black in color) and grizzlies. The cubs above appear to be young grizzles, with rounded ears and a distinctive shoulder 'hump'.
They mate in spring, but embryos don't implant and begin to develop until the fall. Cubs are born in dens during the winter, and a mother will typically have a litter of up to three young.
"Grizzly bears may range over hundreds of square miles, and the potential for conflicts with human activities, especially when human food is present, makes the presence of a viable grizzly population a continuing challenge for its human neighbors in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem," explains the NPS.
To protect bears, and reduce the odds of a dangerous close encounter, make sure you always keep a safe distance, store all food, cosmetics and garbage out of reach (ideally in a bear box), and pay close attention to signage around the park.
For more advice, see our guides what to do if you meet a bear, and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).