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Northern Rocky Mountains gray wolf

Seattle Post-Intellegencer, September 16, 2008

Feds retreat on Northern Rockies wolf hunting plan
By Matthew Brown, Associated Press Writer

BILLINGS, Mont. -- A federal wildlife official says the government plans to retreat for now from its attempt to take gray wolves in the Northern Rockies off the endangered species list.

Ed Bangs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the government in the next week plans to withdraw a rule issued this spring. The rule was based on the assertion that the region's approximately 1,500 wolves were recovered fully, opening the way for public hunting of wolves to begin this fall in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Those hunts had been in doubt since July, when U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy blocked them from going forward pending resolution of a lawsuit by environmentalists.

The decision to withdraw the rule listing wolves as fully recovered is subject to final approval by Department of Justice attorneys.

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Photo © Paul S. Hamilton