Originally featured in Points West in Winter 2012
Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)
Each year, visitors to the Greater Yellowstone region cite the grizzly bear as the one thing they would most like to see.
The grizzly has become a symbol of the untamed West that attracts people to Yellowstone from around the globe and is the subject of a classic book authored by the Center’s first director, Harold R. “Doc” McCracken. He first published The Beast that Walks Like Man in 1955, stating in it that “Observing and studying grizzly bears has proved to be far more gratifying than all the hunting I have done.”
The grizzly bear population declined so drastically in the Yellowstone region during the mid-twentieth century that it was listed as threatened on the U.S. Endangered Species List. With this protection and active management, the Yellowstone grizzly population has rebounded, and the animal is expected to be delisted soon.
The magnificent grizzly specimen pictured here was harvested from a robust population of grizzly bears in British Columbia in 1999 and generously donated to the Center’s Draper Natural History Museum in 2012 by Cody resident George Joest. It is now featured in the Center’s central hub, beckoning visitors to learn more about this spectacular place and its inhabitants.
Grizzly bear. Gift of George Joest. DRA.305.159