“760 ~ Jim Bear” photograph by Daryl Hunter
Thank you Daryl for capturing the essence and joy of this favorite Bear of ours, Grizzly 760. The following is my guest editorial to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, to be published on November 12 2014.
This is my tribute to Grizzly 760, also known as Jim Bear to many of us. I spent good time around him, as did many of us who love our bears. In honor of his short and compelling life, it is important to share a few stories.
760 was a good bear. He was a memorable bear. He was a confident bear. He was a spirited bear. He was an adventurous bear. He was an inquisitive bear. He was not a bad bear. He was not an aggressive bear. He was not an ornery bear. He was not a menacing bear.
760 was a good bear. If you spend time observing bears, you can become adept in discerning their personalities. He was likeable. He didn’t bluff charge people. He had a joie de vivre and he was a joy to watch. I believe he had a good heart.
760 was a memorable bear with an interesting ancestry. He was part of the miraculous circumstances of the bear lore of Grand Teton National Park in 2011. 399 had emerged that spring with three cubs. 610 had appeared with two cubs. Somehow these two families crossed paths one night, and a cub changed alliances. At next day’s dawn, surprisingly, 610 now had three cubs and 399 had two. 760 was one of those cubs.
760 had confidence. And he had charisma. He often parted the cars and people with panache when he wanted to cross the road. He was not skittish. He would take his time, rarely rushing.
760 was a spirited bear. This past spring, many of us watched a most extraordinary encounter between 399 and her two cubs as 760 challenged her in a territorial claim. 760 had been grubbing in his favorite meadow on Cattleman’s road for a few weeks. One morning, 399 with cubs in tow reappeared in that meadow and 760 tried to chase them away. Problem was, she would have none of it. She and the cubs charged him all the way to the Snake River. It was breathtaking to watch these bolting bears in high speed pursuit. 760 deferred, left the meadow, and hightailed it north.
760 was an adventurous bear. After that day 399 sent him packing, he reappeared a couple days later way north at Huckleberry Mountain at the southern boundary of Yellowstone where he browsed for a several weeks. Then suddenly two days later he had galloped south again. He shut down the Moose~Wilson road in Grand Teton National Park as he leisurely grazed the berries. He hung out at the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve where people got to experience his entertaining presence. His roaming spirit drew him further south toward denser human populations. There he encountered the fearful humans who made the call and had him trapped, even though he had shown no aggression and most likely would have headed north again toward familiar territory for hibernation. From that fateful moment, in a very bad choice by the powers that be, he was relocated to northern Wyoming, and ended up being tragically killed on October 27 by Wyoming Game and Fish near the town of Clark, Wyoming.
760 was an inquisitive bear. I delighted in watching his humorous self-realizations as he learned this or that, splashing the spring runoff waters with his paws for no apparent reason, tossing a flower skyward, suddenly galloping off like a spunky fawn following his next inquisitive urge.
760 is now a Spirit Bear. In his short life, he traveled the distance, making a difference, opening our hearts. Now it’s up to us.
If you care about the survival of our grizzly bears, do your part and find out what happened to 760. To relocate him to an unfamiliar environment far from the only home he ever knew, during the height of foraging season as he prepared for hibernation is very bad science, unconscionable, and shows a grave lack of understanding and compassion for the well being of the bear. These bears are our bears, and when reckless, expedient decisions are made that threaten the life of a good bear like 760, we need to investigate this as citizens.
Contact Wyoming Game and Fish and Grand Teton National Park and ask them to explain their decision-making process in regards to what happened. Contact the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST). If more of us will make our inquiries and hold the overseeing agencies accountable for past poor decisions, we will help those in charge create and follow wiser, more considered protocols as to how to protect our bears going forward.
Perhaps this can be the legacy of 760. Let’s make sure the gift of his life and death did not happen in vain. Rest in peace, 760. Thank you for sharing your intelligent exuberant time with us.
Here is Daryl Hunter’s contact info: http://l.facebook.com/l/SAQGLt4IcAQH-utTHXK6TdcqcaeNvkQ60dVne9-DEDO-G9Q/www.daryl-hunter.ne
Also check out his exquisite short film of Bears 399, 610, and 760: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKsKx9txKYY&list=UUrEkT8Cjv97RyjH6dltasLw
Thank you for signing this petition to ensure we find out what happened: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/151/571/781/young-4-year-old-grizzly-killed-by-wyoming-fish-and-gamewe-want-answers/?taf_id=13114010&cid=fb_na#