Outdoors

Feds delay decision on wolf de-listing

FILE - In this August 2012 file photo provided by Wolves of the Rockies, the Lamar Canyon wolf pack moves on a hillside in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. As the progeny of wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996 spread across the West, an accidental experiment has developed. A temporary court order has made Oregon a wolf-safe zone, where wildlife agents are barred from killing wolves that attack livestock. Over the past year, the numbers of wolves has risen to 46 in Oregon, but livestock attacks have remained static. In neighboring Idaho, the number livestock attacks rose dramatically as the numbers of wolves killed by hunters and wildlife agents also increased. (Wolves Of The Rockies)
FILE - In this August 2012 file photo provided by Wolves of the Rockies, the Lamar Canyon wolf pack moves on a hillside in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. As the progeny of wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996 spread across the West, an accidental experiment has developed. A temporary court order has made Oregon a wolf-safe zone, where wildlife agents are barred from killing wolves that attack livestock. Over the past year, the numbers of wolves has risen to 46 in Oregon, but livestock attacks have remained static. In neighboring Idaho, the number livestock attacks rose dramatically as the numbers of wolves killed by hunters and wildlife agents also increased. (Wolves Of The Rockies)

PREDATORS — Federal wildlife officials are postponing a much-anticipated decision on whether to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states.

In a court filing Monday in Billings, Mont., government attorneys say “a recent unexpected delay” is indefinitely holding up action on the predators. No further explanation was offered.

Gray wolves are under protection as an endangered species and have recovered dramatically from widespread extermination in recent decades.

More than 6,000 of the animals now roam the continental U.S. Most live in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes, where protections already have been lifted.

The protections are still in effect for most of Washington.

A draft proposal to lift protections elsewhere drew strong objections when it was revealed last month.

Wildlife advocates and some members of Congress argue that the wolf's recovery is incomplete because the animal occupies just a fraction of its historical range.

State and federal wildlife biologists and groups respresenting agriculture and hunting interests say wolves have recovered dramatically fast and must be managed to control the impact they have on livestock and big game herds in certain areas.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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