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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 04:24 AM

Draft rule threatens to cut protections for gray wolves

Draft rule threatens to cut protections for gray wolves
Sapa-AP | 27 April, 2013 09:30

US wildlife officials have drafted plans to lift protections for gray wolves in the mainland 48 US states, a move that could end a decades-long recovery effort that has restored the animals but only in parts of their historic range.

The draft US Department of Interior rule obtained by The Associated Press contends that roughly 6 000 wolves now living in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes are enough to prevent the species' extinction. The agency says having gray wolves elsewhere - such as the West Coast, parts of New England and the Southern Rockies - is unnecessary for their long-term survival.

A small population of Mexican wolves in the Southwest would continue to receive federal protections, as a distinct subspecies of the gray wolf.

The document was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday the rule was under internal review and would be subject to public comment before a final decision is made.


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