Drs John and Frank Craighead
The Grizzly Price of Public Service
This piece features heroes who fought for grizzly bears and the public trust. It also summarizes my experience of the wildlife management arena: the good guys, who care about the broader public interest, have a tough time surviving. People who study and manage natural resources, especially rare and endangered species, tend to suffer the most, because they tend to be at odds with status quo power and wealth arrangements.
Also listen to this awesome podcast of Bureau of Land Management Dillon, Montana, Manager, Tim Bozorth
New (and old) fires are burning in the battle for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears. Just three years ago, it appeared the government was going to ramrod the decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections without a whole lot of opposition. But, for many wildlife advocates, a sense of redoubled enthusiasm and commitment has replaced defeat and despair – with good reason. New groups have emerged such as Don't Delist Grizzlies, Friends of 760, and Guardians of Our Ancestors' Legacy. And older champions continue to inspire new generations such as author and activist Charlie Russell.
GOAL Tribal Coalition comprises of more than 50 tribes vehemently opposed to the federal government's choice to delist sacred grizzly bears, and to ignore tribal rights. The coalition has emerged as the largest tribal alliance in North America. The unification of a such a large number of diverse tribes around a single cause would never have happened but for the creative vision of Cheyenne Sundance Priest Don Shoulderblade and his nephew Rain Bear Stands Last -- not to mention Rain’s wife Sara and their daughter Tashia, who at the age of 12, coined the phrase “no biz without the griz.”
GOAL (Guardians of Our Ancestors' Legacy) Tribal Coalition
Chuck Jonkel: Rebel, Advocate, Scientist
On April 12, 2017, Dr. Charles Jonkel, a mentor and hero for nature, passed away. Chuck was a pioneering bear biologist who paved the way for countless researchers and helped bring about a transformation in our understanding of bears and human relations with them. He was an educator, who made the natural world come alive in the eyes of kids of all ages. He was the epitome too of a conservation advocate, who saw the destruction of the wild and would not be silent. And as anyone who met him intuitively knew, Chuck, with his lumbering gait and heavy build, was at least part bear.
Frank and John Craighead: Pioneer Researchers
In September, 2016, world-famous scientist and grizzly bear researcher, John Craighead, passed away at the age of 100 at his home in Missoula, Montana. This followed the death of his twin brother Frank in 2001. Together, the Craighead brothers made history for grizzly bears, opening a window into the bruins’ magical and sometimes strange lives.
Their message was simple and provocative: understand and save our magnificent predators and the wild habitat they depend on.
There are many heroes of grizzly conservation and science of all stripes and backgrounds. These are a few of them... Please send along any other suggestions or recommendations!