Wolves across the Great Lakes region are back under full protection of the federal Endangered Species Act as a result of a ruling by a federal judge Friday in Washington.
Judge Beryl A. Howell sided with animal rights groups in a 111-page decision stating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went too far in removing federal protections for wolves in nine Great Lakes states in 2012.
The judge ruled that wolves in the Great Lakes states be immediately placed under the protections of the government’s 1978 ruling to protect the animals, which had been hunted, trapped and harassed to near extinction at the time.
By then only a few hundred wolves remained in the continental United States, mostly in and around Minnesota’s Superior National Forest.
Under federal protections for three decades, wolf numbers rebounded in Minnesota, with the animals spreading…
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