A new step has been taken in the battle over protections for Wyoming's wolves. An agreement announced yesterday between Wyoming's governor and federal authorities will ensure that regulation of the animals falls to the state. Wolves will be de-listed in the state—so that they no longer appear on the Endangered Species List—provided Wyoming maintains a population of 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs. Those numbers would represent a reduction of nearly half the state's current population of 230 animals, not including the protected animals living in Yellowstone National Park. The plan to remove protection for wolves, initially included in a Congressional budget agreement in April, was the first time an endangered species lost protection through legislative action. Negotiation continued throughout the spring. Wyoming, with support of ranchers and hunters, pushed for a management plan that included unregulated killing—including trapping and shooting on sight. The Fish and Wildlife Service pushed for trophy game status for the wolves, including regulated hunting with licenses. Environmentalists, meanwhile, contend that the de-listing is based on politics, not science, and is illegal to begin with.
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