By BEN NEARY
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is telling Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead that he shares the governor’s desire to end federal protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears.
Salazar wrote to Mead last week saying he expects the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies will finish their court-ordered analysis of the effect of the decline of the whitebark pine tree on bear populations by early 2014.
Mead wrote to Salazar in May saying that the gravity of the bear situation around the nation’s oldest national park cannot be overemphasized. Mead said bears killed four people in the area over the past two years.
Biologists estimate the Greater Yellowstone area had about 600 bears last year. The area includes parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.