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Grizzly confirmed as Yellowstone region's known oldest bear at 34

Grizzly Bear Yellowstone
Posted at 9:07 AM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 12:12:11-05

JACKSON, Wyo. — Wildlife biologists say a 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region.

Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on cattle.

Officials identified him by a tattoo inside his mouth, 168, unique because bears nowadays have numbers well above 1,000. The bears are number sequentially, and have been for decades.

“He was born in 1986,” Dan Thompson with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department told Jackson Hole News & Guide. “That’s pretty wild to think about. I think I was in junior high. I know it was the year before [Guns N’ Roses’] Appetite for Destruction came out.”

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports the male had just a few teeth left and weighed 170 pounds. When he was 5 years old, he weighed 450 pounds.

Officials from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department shared the below image showing bear 168's mouth, and deteriorated teeth.

Exchange Old Grizzly
This 2020 photo provided by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department shows the worn, mostly toothless jaw of Grizzly 168. The grizzly was the oldest documented in the Yellowstone region. Bear biologists euthanized the 34-year-old grizzly due to its poor health. (Zach Turnbull/Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

Wildlife officials euthanized the old bear in July 2020 because of his poor health and because he would likely continue to prey on calves.