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Feds deny petitions to restore endangered species protections for wolves

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal officials have denied petitions to restore endangered species protections to gray wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Conservation groups are threatening to sue over the decision.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains no longer constitute a distinct population from wolves in other western states, so they don’t need their own protections.

The agency said the population at large is not at risk of extinction, even under a “substantial increase” of hunting in Idaho and Montana.

Kristine Ackland is a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of dozens of conservation groups that petitioned the service to relist wolves. She said federal officials improperly minimize hunting risks faced by the northern Rockies population.

“Their analysis basically dilutes the status in the northern Rocky Mountains,” Ackland said.

A number of conservation groups released statements that they’re considering further legal action in the wake of the decision.

The Fish and Wildlife Service also announced that it will draft a National Recovery Plan for gray wolves by December 2025.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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