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Environmental groups challenge gray wolf delisting

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Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife/Dana Reid
Wenaha Pack wolf pup

SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. (KIFI)-Six environmental groups have filed suit against a Trump Administration rule that removed the gray wolf from Endangered Species Act protection in the lower 48 states.

The lawsuit claims the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made its decision despite science that concludes wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of their former range. 

Earthjustice filed the suit on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Oregon Wild, and the Humane Society of the United States.

“This is no ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment for wolf recovery,” said Kristen Boyles, an Earthjustice attorney. “Wolves are only starting to get a toehold in places like Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, and wolves need federal protection to explore habitat in the Southern Rockies and the Northeast. This delisting decision is what happens when bad science drives bad policy.”

Center for Biological Diversity said that without protection, the future of gray wolves rests with state governments that are hostile to wolf recovery.

By 1967, there were fewer than 1,000 wolves in one isolated part of the upper Midwest. The Fish and Wildlife Service protected gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act beginning in 1978.  

There are recovering wolf populations now in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. 

According to Earthjustice, 1.8 million Americans submitted comments last year in opposition to the delisting.

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