Chuck Jonkel, world-renowned bear expert and advocate, dies at 85

Chuck Jonkel
Chuck Jonkel

This is truly the end of an era. Chuck Jonkel passed away Tuesday at age 85.

Rob Chaney of the Missoulian wrote a first-rate obituary. Recommended reading . . .

Grizzly bears emerging from their winter dens will encounter a changed landscape: Longtime grizzly advocate Chuck Jonkel has died.

“Mr. Jonkel was truly a pioneer in grizzly bear science,” said Leanne Marten, Regional Forester for the Forest Service’s Northern Region. “Montana will miss him greatly. Everything we know about grizzly bears is due to Mr. Jonkel’s expertise.”

Jonkel died Tuesday evening at his home in Missoula. He was 85.

“Tim Ryan from the Flathead Reservation came down on Monday and did a Salish smoke ceremony for Dad, and then (Blackfeet singer) Jack Gladstone and Patty Bartlett sang him off on Tuesday morning,” son Jamie Jonkel said. “We took him down by the river for the ceremony, and he really liked that.”

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