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Feds give preliminary OK to kill wolves

Federal wildlife officials have given preliminary approval to a petition to kill up to 60 endangered gray wolves in Idaho’s Lolo area that have been preying heavily on big game herds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a draft environmental review Thursday in which it proposed to approve the hunt plan submitted last August by Idaho Fish and Game. A similar petition to remove wolves in the Bitterroot Range of Montana is pending.

Wolves in the Northern Rockies are listed as an endangered species under a federal court order, but state and federal officials have been looking for ways to curb their population. The Idaho and Montana proposals stem from a 2008 rule change by the Fish and Wildlife Service that is currently under challenge by wildlife advocates.