Wolves, Back From Brink, Are Targets Again

Environmental groups sue after feds remove species' protected tag

By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff

Posted May 27, 2008 11:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – A success story is at risk of turning into a bloodbath as gray wolves, newly removed from the US endangered-species list, are no longer protected from being hunted outside national parks. A coalition of environmental groups is suing the Bush administration, claiming that the wolves still need protection in the northern Rockies due to low genetic diversity, Salon reports.

Hunters are now allowed to kill wolves even if they have no history of threatening livestock; at least 40 of the 1,500-strong population have been gunned down since March. "The states legally could kill down to a total of 300 wolves," says a lawyer for Earthjustice. "We could have 1,200 wolves killed before the federal government would say relisting this population is appropriate."

A gray wolf rests in tall grass in this undated photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A gray wolf rests in tall grass in this undated photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   (AP Photo)
This photo provided by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks shows a gray wolf pup from the Calder Mountain pack along the Montana and Idaho borders west of Troy, Mont.
This photo provided by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks shows a gray wolf pup from the Calder Mountain pack along the Montana and Idaho borders west of Troy, Mont.   (AP Photo)
This image provided by Tony Saunders shows Saunders displaying a wolf he shot south of Bondurant, Wyo., on April 6, 2008.
This image provided by Tony Saunders shows Saunders displaying a wolf he shot south of Bondurant, Wyo., on April 6, 2008.   (AP Photo/courtesy of Tony Saunders)
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