THEM ON US

By on June 21, 2016

‘Bearly’ knew you

160622TOU-1News outlets across America and across the pond lamented the loss of a famous grizzly bear cub that never got a chance to live long enough to be named. The blond-faced yearling was killed by a hit-and-run motorist sometime last Sunday night between the junctions of Pilgrim Creek Road and Colter Bay.

Famed bear 399 emerged from her hibernation with the single cub in tow to the delight of many photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. The hulking sow has usually birthed triplets in the past but she is aging. At 20, the cub some had taken to calling “Snowy,” was likely her last. More than half of 399’s offspring are also dead.

Teton Interagency Dispatch received calls from passing motorists on Sunday night just before 10 p.m. that an adult grizzly was dragging a lifeless cub from the road. It was 399 trying to pull her dead offspring to safety. Park biologists found Snowy about 40 yards from the highway and removed it for study. There have been reports that 399 appeared noticeably distraught following the incident, pacing the scene of the collision and refusing to leave the area.

In the end, it was 399’s own cagey instincts that played a role in her cub’s death. The sow has preferred to frequent roadside areas much to the delight of wildlife viewers. Some experts believed the heavily trafficked habitat chosen by the bear helped keep her cubs safe from attack from other male grizzlies more reluctant to interface with humans. But it was this practice that ultimately put her offspring in harm’s way of vehicle fatality. Two other cubs were also killed by motorists.

Park officials say another bruin was killed in Grand Teton on the same night. An adult female black bear also was struck and killed near Deadman’s Bar earlier that evening around 7:30 p.m. No one stopped or reported that collision, either.

In all, 37 animals are known to have been struck by vehicles on park roadways already this year. One grizzly bear cub, two black bears, nine deer, two bison, nine elk, two coyotes, and one red fox were involved in collisions. On average, 100 animals are hit annually.

“These unfortunate incidents are an important reminder for all of us to slow down and be vigilant when we travel through the park,” said Grand Teton superintendent David Vela. “Especially with the traffic levels that we are seeing during this busy season, it’s important to obey posted speed limits, maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles, and be especially watchful around dawn and dusk when wildlife are more active.”

Ring my bell

160622TOU-2Cody, Wyoming’s Luke Bell is enjoying a wave of critical acclaim for his eponymously titled debut album, even if NPR can’t get his name straight. The original headline for the story that was essentially a written transcript of the radio interview conducted by Scott Simon as part of Weekend Edition Saturday read: Lake Bell Returns to Wyoming in Debut Album.

Lake Bell is an actress from New York City. Luke, on the other hand, is a throwback honky-tonker who has wowed critics with his retro style. His interview with NPR featured a few cuts from his new release. “Hold Me” is currently spinning on Spotify’s Wild Country playlist. He’s made press in Rolling Stone and the LA Times, among other publications. He played the Teton County Fair last summer during a downpour.

Bell is a nephew of Jackson Mayor Sara Flitner.

Start me up

160622TOU-3A few ingenious ideas sprang out of Central Wyoming College’s Start-Up Institute’s recent Shark Tank-style pitch party at the Jackson campus.

Hopeful entrepreneurs included Taylor Jackson and his idea to apply art to vinyl records; Paul Boice, who hoped to open up the great outdoors to those unable to physically participate by use of drones and Tom Young’s pitch to market healthy foods at fast-food prices.

Marc Wilcox wrote the story for Wyoming Business Report. He was also one of the 20 graduates of the 10-week course. PJH

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