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John and his twin, Frank Craighead, Jr., over years of both academic and innovative field studies, became the most famous and respected team in wildlife conservation.
Their joint career, described in the bio on Frank, lasted from childhood, through college, through WW II for the Navy and the OSS in training for survival tactics, and through their 12-year study on the grizzly bear. John’s contributions, though often through work with Frank, were for awhile in the academic world. In 1952, he assumed leadership of the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Montana, where he remained until retirement in 1977. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Zoology and Forestry at the University of Montana.
At the University he trained numerous graduate students specializing in population studies on a variety and range of western wildlife. He co-authored four books with Frank and has published five monographs and over 80 scientific papers. He has received numerous awards for contributions in wildlife biology, served as Vice President of the Wildlife Society and as President of the Montana Wilderness Association.
He is married to Margaret Smith and is continuing to conduct research studies with the Craighead Wildlife-Wildlands Institute, which he founded. In 2000 he was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by the Society for Conservations Biology for his “extraordinary contributions to conservations through innovations and leadership”.