Museum Minute: Yellowstone's "Most" Famous Bear: Bear 104

May 3, 2018

Bear 104 was a female grizzly bear who made her home on the edge of Yellowstone National Park and Shoshone National Forest, near a very heavily used road. As tourists drove to the east entrance of Yellowstone, they would be lucky enough to see Bear 104 and her cubs throughout the years.

She was first trapped in 1984 near Pahaska Tepee when she was about two and half years old. At 350 pounds, she was a small grizzly bear. And she was very tolerant of humans. Unfortunately, this got her in trouble early in her life. People would approach her as close to 15 feet, in some cases, photographers, especially.

Thus, she was an easy photo for the eager wildlife tourists coming into Yellowstone. Most pictures of a grizzly bear in the mid-80s were Bear 104.

Her proximity with humans finally caught up with her in 2001, when she was hit by a small truck. She was about 19 years of age. The body of Bear 104 was donated to the museum.

A couple years later, her cub was euthanized because he was in such bad condition. He joined his mother in the museum.

Since Bear 104 and her cub departed the North Fork of the Shoshone River and the Yellowstone highway, not many grizzly bears frequent the area anymore.