(AFP) – Oct 14, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States returned to the endangered species list Tuesday, thanks to a court victory by environmental groups over the US government.
"The northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf is returned to the list of endangered and threatened species, with each of its component populations having the same status under the Endangered Species Act," said federal judge Donald Molloy in a written ruling handed down in Missoula, Montana.
Twelve groups went to court in April to challenge the US government's decision two months earlier to delist the gray wolf in the mountainous states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
They disputed Washington's claim that reintroduction of the species had been a success, and suspected that delisting would open the door to the mass shooting of wolves, sanctioned by state authorities.
Wolves had all but disappeared in the mainland United States by 1974. In 1995, 66 gray wolves from Canada were released in Idaho and near Yellowstone national park in hopes that their numbers would multiply.
There now are an estimated 1,200 wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, where wary farmers regard them as a threat to livestock.
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