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In Banff National Park, Canada, the first reported grizzly bear out of its den this year was seen. Officials say although there is still snow on the ground, bears are beginning to wake from their long winter’s nap and are very hungry, as they’ve been living off their fat stores over the past few months.

“As soon as the first bear comes out, it’s bear season,” said Mike Grande, a resource conservation officer with Banff National Park. “The fact we’ve only seen one bear is not an indication there’s only one out.”

Large males tend to be first out of their dens, and as early as mid-March to early April is average. Females with cubs tend to be the last out, in early May or sometimes even into early June. There is a possibility the bear is 122 – a large male bear that was pegged at about 700 pounds before heading into his den last December not long after dining on a large elk carcass by the Bow River upstream from the Banff townsite.

“It’s probably a bear we know. It’s definitely a possibility it’s 122. The snow was deep and I couldn’t see his distinctive big white claws,” said Grande.

“This bear’s about 500 pounds and he looked really healthy. He’s got a big round belly, big haunches,” he said, noting he did not see a GPS collar and he was unable to see any possible ear tag due to the low light and his distance away from the grizzly.

Source: Rocky Mountain Outlook  Photo: © WildSafeBC Program