Senate bill would drop protections for wolves in MN

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Gray Wolves in Ely
In this February 2008 photo gray wolves howl at an exhibit area at the International Wolf Center in Ely.
John Flesher | AP 2008

Two Republican U.S. senators are renewing efforts to drop gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming from the federal endangered species list.

Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and John Barrasso of Wyoming introduced legislation this week that would order the Interior Department to renew previous orders lifting protections for the wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Federal judges threw out both orders last year. The bill would prohibit courts from doing so in the future.

Similar legislation is pending in the House.

Animal protection advocates repeatedly have sued over federal efforts to strip wolves of their endangered status in the western Great Lakes and the Northern Rockies. They contend the wolf's situation remains precarious.

Federal officials say the predator species has recovered in both regions.