Grizzly bears often give birth to one or two cubs, and occasionally have three offspring. This year, visitors have flocked to an area just outside Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park to witness a rarity: four adorable bear cubs parading behind their mother.
Watch a video of this unusual bear family:
The bear family has been spotted almost daily in the area near Bunsen Peak and Swan Lake Flat, with the four cubs frolicking and playing in the vicinity of their mother. A grizzly sow gives birth to a litter of cubs during hibernation in January or February, and the cubs usually remain with her for two winters after birth.
Yesterday this remarkable bear family spent the morning wandering in the meadows of Swan Lake Flat and hundreds of visitors watched the playful antics of the cubs. Unfortunately, not all of the cubs are expected to survive, and one of the four appears much smaller than its siblings.
Yellowstone is home to over 150 grizzly bears who reside permanently in the park, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem houses over 600 of the animals. Black bears also live in Yellowstone National Park and are commonly sighted as well.
The Yellowstone grizzly bear was recently placed back on the endangered species in 2009 as climate change is having an impact on an important food source for the animal—the whitebark pine nut. Yellowstone’s grizzlies called attention to their plight in an amusing protest video directed at Stephen Colbert.