Dec 21, 2011 at 10:00 am
ATLANTA, Mich. (AP) - The Obama administration is taking gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region off the federal endangered species list.
The Associated Press obtained a Wednesday statement in which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the more than 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have exceeded recovery goals and no longer need federal protection.
Responsibility for managing and protecting those wolves will be turned over to state wildlife agencies. The populations will be monitored for at least five years to make sure they remain at sustainable levels.
The Interior Department also says it's reconsidering a previously announced plan to remove endangered species protections for wolves in 29 Eastern states, even though they aren't believed to have any established wolf populations. Officials say they'll decide on the status of Eastern wolves later.