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Friday, February 26, 2010

NOW on PBS tonight: Hunting Wolves, Saving Wolves

The weekly PBS news program "NOW" features a wolf story tonight:

"Last year the Obama Administration removed federal protection from some of the wolves that had been restored to the northern Rockies under the Endangered Species Act. The move paved the way for controversial state-regulated wolf hunts."

Watch the segment here:


Wolf advocates strongly oppose the administration's decision saying the three states in the region, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming need a cohesive management plan that allows for a much larger wolf population. "It was very disappointing when Secretary Salazar in the Obama Administration, signed off on this rushed-through Bush administration delisting package for wolves," said Doug Honnold, a lawyer with Earthjustice, who is representing conservation groups challenging the government's decision.

The return of the gray wolf to the northern Rockies is considered to be the most successful wildlife reintroduction project in the history of the 27 year old Endangered Species Act. In 1995 and 1996, 66 gray wolves we relocated from Canada to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Today there are more than 1,600 wolves in the region.

For its part the federal government says that just 300 wolves are needed for legitimate recovery in the region. "Wolves are back and there's plenty of them in plenty of places. They're never really going anywhere," said Ed Bangs, the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

More than a dozen conversation groups have sued the Interior Department to return federal protection to the northern Rockies wolves. Some believe the result of this legal debate is a litmus test for the Obama Administration's overall approach to wildlife issues and the Endangered Species Act.

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