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Champions of Conservation

John & Frank Craighead

John and Frank Craighead were born in Washington, DC in 1916. Following high school they drove cross country photographing and capturing hawks and falcons and made a stop in Jackson Hole. They studied science at Pennsylvania State University and they went to the University of Michigan for masters degrees in ecology and wildlife management. They published articles in National Geographic about their road trip and later about a trip to India on falconry, but their trip was cut short by World War II. During this time they were working towards PhD’s at the University of Michigan and created a manual for the Navy, “How to Survive Land and Sea.” Following the war they returned to Jackson Hole and purchased property in Moose. In 1959, at the request of Yellowstone National Park, John and Frank began a twelve year study of grizzly bears in the park. They developed radio transmitters to track the bears. They also developed field techniques to tranquilize the bears in the field to put the collars on. Based on the tracking data, the Craigheads found that the bears move outside of the park’s boundaries and they introduced the concept of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. They were very involved with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.