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Energy & Environment

Animal Welfare Groups Push for Lesser 'Threatened' Status for Gray Wolf

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A coalition of animal rights groups is pushing to downgrade federal protections for the gray wolf, hoping to compromise with opponents who want to remove protections altogether.

The groups are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the gray wolf as threatened rather than endangered.   

Wolves are currently endangered in Wisconsin and Michigan, thanks to a court ruling in late December that put the wolf back under federal protection. 

But some members of Congress are pushing to change that status through legislation.    

Now the Humane Society of the United States and twenty other wildlife protection groups are advocating for what they call a compromise plan to give the wolf the less-restrictive designation of ‘threatened.’ 

Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle says it could give managers and property owners more flexibility, even allowing lethal control in some cases. 

“We feel that this petition provides a way forward that gives something meaningful to both sides. More active management of problem wolves, but maintaining federal protections.”

Wolves are on the endangered species list in most of the lower 48, except for parts of the Northern Rockies.

A federal court ruling in December re-listed wolves as endangered in Wisconsin and Michigan, and threatened in Minnesota. 

The ruling put a stop to wolf hunts in all three states.

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