US: Wolves may need protections after states expand hunting
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Biden administration says federal protections may need to be restored for gray wolves in the western U.S. after Republican-led states made it much easier to kill the predators.
It marks an abrupt turnaround for agency officials who spent years in court defending their decision under the Obama administration to allow wolves to be hunted and trapped under state jurisdiction in the six-state Northern Rockies region.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration lifted protections across most of the rest of the U.S. in his last days in office.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday that the region’s wolves face new potential perils, after a decades-long restoration was capped by their return to state management. Republican lawmakers in Montana and Idaho are intent on culling wolf packs blamed for periodic attacks on livestock and reducing deer and elk herds that hunters prize.
Wildlife advocates asked the Biden administration to intervene, warning wolf numbers could fall to unsustainable levels.