Keynote Speaker: Chris Servheen

Chris Servheen retired from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2016, after 35 years of managing the now historic recovery of grizzly bears in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Chris says he retired so he could spend more time in the field camping and studying bears.

“Today we have a healthy, robust population. When I first started, that seemed like an impossible goal. We got there by looking out for grizzly bears and balancing their needs with the needs of people.”

It was a balancing act that required Chris to explore many different pathways to progress. A big part of his job was working with remarkably diverse groups of stakeholders and special interest groups, helping them find common ground and work together toward a common goal.

“I am sensitive to the need to manage bears so that people who live, work, and recreate in bear habitat feel that agencies have their interests in mind when they manage bears and respond to human/bear conflicts.”

Over the years, Chris was involved in everything key to grizzly recovery, from securing habitat and outreach and education to sanitation and motorized route density to making sure they were getting good science so there would be a solid foundation for making smart decisions.

Chris was the USFWS contact person for every management action taken on every grizzly bear involved in a human/grizzly conflict in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. He focused on finding ways to deal with conflicts while limiting mortality, and was the co-organizer of the 4th International Human-Bear Conflicts Workshop in 2012 in Missoula, Montana

Today Chris Co-Chairs the North American Bear Expert Team for the IUCN’s Bear Specialist Group with Rich Beausoleil and is the vice president of the Montana Wildlife Federation.

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