Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

December 13, 2007

Contact:  Sharon Rose  303-236-4580





        After 26 years as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, Dr. Chris Servheen received the Department of the Interior’s second highest award, the Meritorious Service Citation for his work conserving the grizzly bear in the Northern Rockies.  His work has involved coordinating the efforts of  many private, state, federal and tribal partners in the western United States.

        “Chris Servheen has done an outstanding job.  The dedication and professionalism of employees like Dr. Servheen serve as inspiration and an exemplary standard for employees throughout the Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Acting Regional Director Jay Slack.

        Servheen has worked not only on grizzly bears in the U.S., but he is often contacted by foreign countries to consult on issues involving many species of bears around the world.  As an example, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Greece in 1994 helping conserve brown bears in Greece.

        In the earlier years of his career, Servheen was fortunate to have worked with and learned from such specialists as the Craighead brothers, who are well known for their extensive work with grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem.  He spent many years conducting field work and learning everything he could about the habitat and biology of grizzlies.

        With the cooperation and coordination of many other individuals, agencies and private organizations, the population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area was recovered and removed from the list of threatened and endangered species in March 2007.  Servheen, along with other biologists, continue to carefully monitor the status of the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone ecosystem and throughout its current habitat, which includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington.  In addition, Servheen and others working to recover grizzly bears frequently work with colleagues in Canada as bears along the border have dual citizenship.

        The expansion of grizzly bear populations in the west, especially in the Yellowstone ecosystem is a result of the scientific expertise and conservation efforts of Dr. Servheen and many other dedicated scientists who have spent their careers to conserve this representative species of the west.  There is still work needed to help grizzly bears fully recover in some of the areas where resurgence has been slow.  When the grizzly bear was added to the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, there were approximately 130-300 grizzlies in the Yellowstone area.  Today there are over 575 grizzlies in this area and this population continues to grow at 4-7% per year.

        The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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