Are U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator Chris Servheen and U.S. Geological Survey Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team leader Chuck Schwartz the Nixon and Agnew of the grizzly bear world?
What prompts this question is that Servheen and Schwartz led efforts to stonewall the media and cover-up government malfeasance last summer after a grizzly that had just been captured, drugged, and released by Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team biologists killed an innocent civilian.
Today, Servheen is in Missoula, Mont. leading his Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee in a discussion about “Human Fatalities in [the] Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Lessons Learned & Recommendations.”
Seventy-year old Erwin Evert was killed on June 17, 2010 in the Kitty Creek drainage of the Shoshone National Forest near the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The media wanted to know if there were warning signs posted at the trap site. Was the area closed?
Schwartz knew there were no warning signs posted at the trap site where Erwin Evert was killed. Schwartz stonewalled the media. He told the Cody Enterprise “There would be an investigation into whether required procedures were followed, such as posting warning signs about grizzly research.”
Servheen flat-out lied to the media about the situation. He said there were warning signs posted at the trap site where the drugged grizzly killed Evert. Servheen told the Billings Gazette, “We can’t protect ourselves against people that ignore every warning we give, and we can’t protect people against themselves.”
For a month, Servheen and Schwartz manipulated the media and blamed the victim. They besmirched the reputation of Erwin Evert, a respected botanist and research associate with the Chicago-area Morton Arboretum.
Day after day, Servheen and Schwartz used the media to blame the victim. When the long awaited in-house investigation of Evert’s death was finally released for public consumption, it was largely a smear campaign against Evert. But key facts were buried in the report. Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team biologists left a drugged bear that was not yet ambulatory at an unmarked trap site at 12:30 pm. The bear killed Evert around 2 pm. His body was found just 21 yards from the exact spot where biologists had left the bear.
Servheen and Schwartz handled the crisis in a manner that would have made Nixon and Agnew proud.
Who was in charge of the cover-up? Who’s the Richard Nixon of the grizzly bear world?