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Editor:

Joan Anzelmo, former national parks employee, recently wrote a letter stating numerous times that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is "rushing to hunt grizzly bears." This is ironic because it was a Yellowstone Park superintendent by the name of Jack Anderson who did more to bring the Yellowstone grizzly to the brink of extinction than all the hunting that was then allowed by the Wyoming Game and Fish.

The inside story of what happened in Yellowstone National Park is detailed in a book by Frank Craighead. "Track of the Grizzly" is about the grizzly bear research done by the Craighead brothers at the request of Yellowstone National Park. The book came out in 1979, the year before Joan Anzelmo became spokesperson for Yellowstone National Park. 

In 1967, the Craigheads recommended that the nine garbage dumps scattered around the park be phased out. Bears over many decades had become accustomed to using the dumps as grocery stores. Later that same year, Jack Anderson became superintendent of the park.

Anderson closed the garbage dumps but did not use the phase-out method recommended by the Craigheads. Hungry bears wandered into campgrounds causing incidents that resulted in negative press. Anderson is reported to have said that he no longer wanted to hear about problem bears; he just wanted them gone.

Problem bears were shot. Campground bears were darted with an overdose of anesthesia that killed them. Records of bear fatalities inside the park were no longer maintained. 

The Game and Fish Department was aware of what was going on in the park and in 1968 they put a moratorium on all grizzly hunting for two years. They allowed very limited hunting after that. It remained a different story inside the park where Anderson was in charge.

In 1975 the Yellowstone grizzly was declared a threatened species. This is the same year that Jack Anderson ended his term as park superintendent. 

Yellowstone National Park is the heart of the Yellowstone ecosystem. It was park management that created a crisis for the bear. It was not the Wyoming Game and Fish. 

ALEX WOLFER, Riverton

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