The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) plans to lift endangered species protections for gray wolves across most of the nation by the end of the year.
Although wolves are already off of the Endangered Species List in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and portions of Utah, Oregon and Washington states, this would remove the animal from federal protections in all states except for a population of wolves in the southwest.
Luke Ellsbury, the Cody large carnivore director for Wyoming Game and Fish, said wolves in Wyoming were most recently delisted in 2017.
"That was done through an appeals panel, the Ninth Circuit Court, and after a lengthy court battle," he said. "That reverted management back to the state and authority back to the state on managing gray wolves."
Ellsbury said, if the federal agency does lift protections, then wolves would be managed by state. This would potentially allow the hunting of wolves, which Wyoming already allows.
"We've been able to set hunting seasons, to deal with livestock conflicts, and as well as monitor the population on our own without help from the Fish and Wildlife Service," said Ellsbury.
Wildlife conservation groups say wolves are still vulnerable and need protections. Wolves in Yellowstone National Park will still be protected.
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