GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — The nation's first and only grizzly bear recovery coordinator is stepping down from his post in Montana after 35 years, saying the threatened species has recovered enough for him to retire.

The Great Falls Tribune reports ( ) that Chris Servheen of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says he's stepping down at the end of April. Wayne Kasworm will become acting recovering coordinator.

Servheen, who took the job in 1981, says he considers bear populations in Yellowstone National Park and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem recovered.

He says efforts have included investing millions of dollars in management, garbage clean-up and reducing bear-human conflicts.

The grizzly bear remains protected under the Endangered Species Act. There are up to 1,700 grizzly bears in the West, with most in Montana and Wyoming.