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Famed Yellowstone Grizzly ‘Scarface’ Nearing the End of His Lifespan

Seattle Times

Grizzly bear No. 211, also called ‘Scarface,’ has been captured 17 times in 25 years, and scientists say this year could be his last.

Born 25 years ago during the grizzly baby boom, bear No. 211 has since become one of Yellowstone National Park’s most famous bruins.

Visitors to Yellowstone in his home area have named the big grizzly ‘Scarface’ for the obvious gashes healed on him over the years.

Genetic testing has shown that he has fathered at least three cubs in a time when the park has seen the reintroduction of wolves, and grizzly populations that have risen from 300 to over 750.

Now that the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has reached the peak capacity grizzly bear population for the amount of resources available to bears, some scientists are calling for federal protections to be removed.

Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet

With much of his life spent near roads in full view of the park’s nature watching public, No. 211 has been observed fighting and even chasing wolves away from prime feeding carcasses. It seems that it has also made it easier to catch him at a rate of 17 times over 25 years.

Kerry Gunther, the park’s bear management program leader said, “Wherever we set traps, he seems to find them”

He was snared for the first time in 1993 near Mount Washburn at the age of 3, and weighed in at 150 pounds.

In 2001, Scarface, who couldn’t resist a road-killed deer, was scooped up again in the prime of his life weighing in at a whopping 597 pounds, his highest weight on record.

Now after 25 years, and reaching what scientists consider a wild grizzly’s lifespan, he was caught again on August 25, 2015 and weighed only a mere 338 pounds.

Gunther noted that he expects No. 211 to die during the winter or possibly next spring when food is scarce and competition with other bears and wolves is fierce.


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Famed Yellowstone Grizzly ‘Scarface’ Nearing the End of His Lifespan