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Yellowstone National Park reports first grizzly sighting

Grizzly bear. File photo.
Grizzly bear. File photo.

Yellowstone National Park has reported its first grizzly bear sighting of the year.

Yellowstone officials say a pilot conducting wildlife research on Monday saw an adult bear walking in a meadow in the west-central part of the park. Last year, the first grizzly sighting occurred on March 13.

The park says male grizzlies come out of hibernation in early March, and females with cubs come out in April and early May to look for food and feed on the carcasses of elk and bison that died over the winter.

As of 2019, the park estimated that close to 730 grizzlies lived in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Spring park visitors are urged to prepare for potential bear encounters, including carrying bear spray (and knowing how to use it), staying in groups, and sticking to maintained trails. Bear sighting should be reported to the park.

Beginning Thursday the park will restrict certain visitor activities in areas where bears might be foraging for bison and elk carcasses.

Nadya joined Yellowstone Public Radio as news director in October 2021. Before coming to YPR, she spent six years as digital news editor/reporter for the NPR affiliate in Wichita, Kansas, where her work earned several Kansas Association of Broadcasters awards and a regional Edward R. Murrow award for Excellence in Social Media. Originally from Texas, Nadya has lived and worked in Colorado, Illinois, Washington, D.C.; and North Dakota. She lives in Billings with her cat, Dragon, and dog, Trooper, and enjoys hiking, crocheting, and traveling as often as possible.