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Gray Wolf Defenders Sue U.S. Fish & Wildlife

MISSOULA, MONT. (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally removed the Rocky Mountain gray wolf from the endangered species list, though there are only 1,500 of them in the wild and they are genetically isolated, the Defenders of Wildlife and 11 other environmental groups claim in Federal Court.

The Fish and Wildlife Service removed endangered species protections for the wolves on Feb. 27. The plaintiffs say that "Without ESA protections, the gray wolf population will never reach sustainable levels and is likely to enter a long-term decline. The states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have each committed to maintain only 100-150 wolves. The states' plans for post-delisting wolf management represent a return to many of the policies that resulted in wolves' eradication from the western landscape in the early 20th century. ... The delisting is arbitrary, capricious, an abused of discretion, and contrary to the law, and must be set aside."

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