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US wildlife officials aim to remove wolf protections in 2020

More than 6,000 wolves now roam portions of the western Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountains.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2019 file photo provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the U.S. National Park Service and the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation, a white wolf is released onto Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. Authorities are preparing for another mission to relocate gray wolves to Isle Royale National Park from a second Lake Superior island. The wolves would be moved from Michipicoten Island in Canadian territory, where they're in danger of starvation after gobbling up a caribou herd. The transfer planned for this weekend is part of a multi-year effort to rebuild wolf numbers at Isle Royale, which have plummeted in the past decade. (Daniel Conjanu/The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation via AP, File)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Trump administration plans to lift endangered species protections for gray wolves across most of the nation by the end of the year.

The director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday that a final decision on the predators' legal status in the Lower 48 states is “very imminent.”

More than 6,000 wolves now roam portions of the western Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountains.

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith told The Associated Press in a phone interview that the administration also is pushing ahead with a rollback of protections for migratory birds despite a recent setback in federal court. 

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