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Groups intend to sue over wolf delisting

Sep 11, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Two coalitions of environmental groups filed notice Monday that they intend to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency's decision to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.

The groups oppose the state of Wyoming's classification of wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in more than 80 percent of state when federal protections end Oct. 1. Wyoming also has scheduled a regulated trophy wolf hunt in the remainder of the state, an area around the eastern and southern borders of Yellowstone National Park, starting next month.

The environmental groups emphasize that Wyoming's current wolf management plan is similar to an earlier version that the federal agency repudiated after initially accepting it a few years ago. They claim the federal government is stopping wolf management for political reasons, not because the current plan is any better than the last one.

"The Wyoming wolf plan and removing protections for Wyoming wolves is a disaster for wolf recovery," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Portland, Ore.

Both coalitions filed their notice to sue Monday in federal court in Washington.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have worked closely together since Mead took office last year on an agreement to end federal wolf protections. The federal government already has turned over wolf management in Idaho and Montana to those states and both have held wolf hunts.

Wyoming has committed to maintaining at least 10 breeding pairs of wolves and at least 100 individual animals outside of Yellowstone and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

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