The Latest: Wolves resilient, but proposal tests expansion

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the proposed removal of federal protections for wolves (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

A proposal to strip gray wolves of federal protections could curtail their rapid expansion across vast swaths of the U.S., yet the predators already are proving to be resilient in states where hunting and trapping occur.

The Interior Department on Thursday declared gray wolves recovered across the Lower 48 states. If finalized, the proposal would allow hunting in more areas.

The species has seen a remarkable turnaround — from near-extermination to more than 6,000 gray wolves spread across nine states.

Critics say hunts could kill thousands of the animals and prevent their further spread.

But in the Northern Rockies, where legal wolf harvests began a decade ago, the animal’s numbers have held relatively steady and packs have expanded west into Oregon, Washington and California.

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6:45 a.m.

U.S. wildlife officials want to strip gray wolves of their remaining federal protections and declare the species recovered following a decades-long restoration effort.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal released Thursday would put wolves under state authority and allow hunting in more areas. The Associated Press reported last week that the proposal was coming.

Critics argue the move is premature, with wolves still absent across most of their historic range.

Government officials say their goal was to protect against extinction, not restore wolves everywhere.

Trapping, poisoning and hunting exterminated wolves across most of the Lower 48 early last century. They bounced back under federal protection, and more than 6,000 now live in portions of nine states.

A final decision on lifting protections will follow a public comment period.

4 thoughts on “The Latest: Wolves resilient, but proposal tests expansion

  1. “Government officials say their goal was to protect against extinction, not restore wolves everywhere.”

    So much sleight of hand. This has been said before; and it is a very simplistic response, and insulting.

    We who want to keep a natural landscape replete with all its beautiful wildlife certainly do realize that this country is too overdeveloped and too overpopulated to restore wolves to their complete former ranges (that would be the entirely of North America). But there is still much available habitat for them that remains.

    How about the Northeast Kingdom in VT? Wolves should be returned to their kingdom there.

  2. Also – I should add that if and when wolves are/do finally suitably recover – no one has a problem with a delisting ‘success story’ – it’s the hunting and resumption of killing them that will surely follow that we have a problem with.

    You watch, there will be no assurances that they will not be killed off again.

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