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Gray Wolf removed from Federal Endangered Species Act protection

AFP - Getty Images file

The political tussle over U. S. spending has ensnared an unlikely victim, the gray wolf, whose long-time status as an endangered species has been axed due to an addition to the federal budget deal. Federal protection for the wolves ends on May 5. Wildlife experts say the wolves had disappeared from the Rocky Mountain region until they were reintroduced in the 1990s, and their protected status has allowed them to recover from near-extinction in the Rocky Mountain region, according to the Sierra Club.

National Park Service / Reuters file

A wolf pack is pictured bedded down in the snow in Yellowstone National Park in this March 2007 photograph. Federal protections for some 1,200 gray wolves in Montana and Idaho officially end on May 5.

AP reports:
BILLINGS, Mont. — The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to lift Endangered Species Act protections for 5,500 gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, drawing the line on the predators' rapid expansion over the last two decades.

Public hunts for hundreds of wolves already are planned this fall in Idaho and Montana.

Conservationists have hailed the animal's recovery from near extinction last century as a landmark achievement — one that should be extended to the Pacific Northwest and New England.

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