Remembering a Yellowstone Legend: The Grizzly Known as Scarface
My family has traveled to Yellowstone National Park several times over the years. During our visits, we never encountered the grizzly named "Scarface". That's a shame. He was a legend in the park and it's worth remembering how he got his name, why he was so well known and how me met his tragic end.
There's so much to share about Scarface, so let's start at the beginning. Yellowstone Grizzly Project estimates that Scarface was born in 1990. He was tagged when he was 3 years old. It's believed he was 25 years old when he was killed. More on that later.
Why did Scarface become so well known that he was elevated to almost an iconic representation of the park? If you ask the families and photographers that crossed his path, it was his personality. Bigger than life doesn't even begin to describe it.
According to the Yellowstone Grizzly Project, less than 5% of bears in the park survive 25 years or more like Scarface did. When you think of the number of apex predators in Yellowstone, it's not surprising that number of survivors is so low. Several of Scarface's battles were captured on video including this contest with a younger grizzly who did not fare well against him.
The end of Scarface's life is a sad and controversial one. Yellowstone Insider shared a report from the park that confirmed Scarface was killed by an elk hunter in November of 2016. Not much was known initially about the circumstances, but a report under the Freedom of Information Act the next year shared by Earthtouch News Network indicated that the elk hunter had fired two bullets after he believed Scarface had come within 10 feet of him. The hunter stated that he encountered Scarface on a trail as he was returning to his camp. Scarface died a few miles outside of Yellowstone's north entrance.
Even though Scarface's life ended in 2016, the stories about him continue to be shared. Any visitor to the park that witnessed his unique personality will testify that he deserved the famous notoriety he received. Lots of bears in Yellowstone, but there will always be only one Scarface.