By now, you’ve may heard the sad news that the well-known grizzly Scarface is dead.
For us here, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
Arguably the best-known and most-recognized of the more than 700 grizzlies in Yellowstone, Scarface’s was found fatally shot back in November in Gardiner, Montana, just north of the park’s lands.
The blow is softened somewhat by the fact that Scarface – or more formally as No. 211 to the park staff – was expected to die of old age this winter, perhaps next. Instead, a bullet took him down, and so far, no one has come forward to claim responsibility.
It’s against the law to shoot a grizzly except in the case of self-defense, but Scarface had been in contact with photographers and park visitors countless times during his 25 years, and he was never aggressive to humans.
He was captured, collared and released 17 times, making him one of the most-studied bears in the region, according to The Washington Post.
“I’ve seen him almost kill a black bear for getting too close to his carcass in Antelope Valley and I’ve seen him barely bat an eyelash at people who find themselves far too close,” nature photographer Simon Jackson of Ghost Bear Photography wrote on his blog two years ago, adding that he’d seen the bear 20 times over the years. “There is no one animal that has inspired me like Scarface, nor any animal that has played such a profound role in defining the person I’ve become,” the Post reported.
Every year, park visitors clamored to see him, and he never disappointed, lumbering on his way, just yards from onlookers who couldn’t believe their good fortune – a Yellowstone celebrity sighting! Scarface, so named for the hard-knocks damage he wore on his face, was easily recognizable between his facial scars and his right ear which was crumpled from a battle with another animal.
We mourn the loss of this magnificent animal, and we’ll share that grief with those who visit in the coming months and would have hoped to aim their cameras at Yellowstone’s most famous grizzly. If you’re interested in seeing all there is to explore and experience at America’s oldest national park, plan a Yellowstone safari with us. To learn more or to book your trip, call us today at 406-586-1155.
Because Scarface’s shooting death is a violation of the Endangered Species Act violation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened an investigation, and we sincerely hope the shooter is found. If you or anyone you know has information that could help, please get in touch with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks at 406-444-2535.