Wyoming Governor Matt Mead received a response from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week to a letter Mead had written last May regarding the delisting of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population. Salazar told Mead that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is now in a better position to defend future delisting of the bear than it was when the courts reversed the previous delisting last year. Salazar says, however the Service needs to reexamine the impacts of the declines in whitebark pine on the grizzly bears, and hopes to complete those studies by early 2014. Mead told KGAB Radio in Cheyenne that he is reassured by the Secretary’s comments. Mead says he is not sure the state and Interior agree on the process or the timing and wants to address the situation sooner rather than later. However he says he is encouraged by his agreement that the bear has recovered and that it is appropriate to begin the delisting process soon. Biologists estimate the Greater Yellowstone area currently has at least 600 grizzly bears with the population having expanded by between four and seven percent each year over the past ten years.