Yellowstone Cold Case Remains Unsolved

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Scarface, the once 600lb grizzly bear known to roam free in the vast wilderness of Yellowstone National Park was shot and killed last November near Gardiner, Montana, after wandering just north of the Park's boundaries.

The most famous resident in Yellowstone National Park, Scarface, or No. 211, had been captured, tagged and released 21 times over the course of his lifetime, making him, according to the Washington Post, "the most studied bear in history."

Massive in size, Scarface weighed in on more than one occasion at 600lbs and during his last years and lost nearly half his weight which had scientists concerned he would not make it through the winter.

The circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery. What scientists do know is that Scarface, who was also tagged and famous in the scientific community as No 211.

Through the monitoring of No. 211 scientists had feared, before the November murder, the majestic Grizzly wouldn't make it through the winter due to his advanced age. At 25, Scarface was considered elderly. Few grizzlies, less than 5%, in the "Yellowstone Eco-system" survive 25 years.

A statement released by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department confirmed a "male grizzly bear shot in late November 2015 was the bear known to researchers as No. 211. No. 211 was killed in the Little Trail Creek drainage north of Gardiner, Montana on the Gallatin National Forest, an event under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

"No. 211 was recognizable because of distinctive scars on the right side of his face likely the result of typical fights with other male grizzlies for females during mating season or to claim deer and elk carcasses. No. 211 was known to many photographers and wildlife watchers. For this reason, his life was often documented in the media."

The grizzlies are protected under Federal government and the State of Montana which makes killing them outside of self-defense a crime prosecutable under federal law. No further information has been released.

Scarface was the most photographed grizzly and the most famous free-captive at Yellowstone. He was the subject of books, films and documentaries. He is mourned by media, tourists and scientist alike.

Scarface's killer remains unknown.

Park officials are urging anyone with information to contact the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 406-444-2535.

The National Parks are celebrating its Centennial anniversary marking 100 years of preserving in pristine condition vast lands across the nation for the enjoyment of peoples from all nations. 

Sources: Various

Image courtesy of Yellowstone National Parks and used with permission.

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