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State's wolf program now gets second legal challenge

Nov 28, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE (AP) -- A second coalition of environmental groups has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claiming it violated the Endangered Species Act by ending federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.

The eight groups say Wyoming's management plan classifying wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in the state is inadequate.

As of early this week, more than 50 wolves have been killed in Wyoming since the state took over their management Oct. 1. Of that number, Wyoming hunters have killed a few dozen wolves in a designated trophy hunting zone outside Yellowstone National Park, while most of the rest have been killed in other areas of the state where wolves are unprotected.

"The current hunting regulations and wolf management policy in Wyoming that basically leaves wolves vulnerable in 85 percent of the state year-round, I think are almost a dereliction of duty, or a form of negligence on the part of the state in terms of wolf management," said Duane Short, wild species program director at the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in Laramie.

The groups that filed Tuesday's lawsuit are Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Conservation Congress, Friends of Animals, Friends of the Clearwater, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians.

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