Deal reached to lift wolf protections in 2 states

Mar 18 2011 - 2:28pm

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Wildlife advocates and U.S. Department of Interior officials say they have reached a deal to lift gray wolf protections and allow hunting of the species in Montana and Idaho.

Friday's settlement agreement in a Montana lawsuit would keep wolves on the endangered list for now in Wyoming, Oregon, Washington and Utah.

Court rulings have blocked prior efforts to lift the species endangered status. But with Congress threatening to intervene, environmentalists said they wanted to avoid precedent-setting legislation on wolves that could undermine the Endangered Species Act.

Not all of the groups involved in the litigation over wolves agreed to the settlement, with four groups opposed. That will complicate efforts to garner approval from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula.


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