17 Mar 2010, 11:10pm
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Minn. petitions to take wolves off endangered list

By STEVE KARNOWSKI AP, March 17, 2010 [here]

Minnesota petitioned the federal government on Wednesday to take the gray wolf off the endangered and threatened species list in the state and give it back the responsibility of managing the animals.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asked the Department of the Interior to decide on its petition within 90 days.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has tried before to remove federal protections for the gray wolf in Minnesota and the western Great Lakes region. Each time the decision was blocked by court action.

In a statement Wednesday, DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten said federal officials agree that Minnesota’s wolf population is not threatened or endangered and that the state’s management plan would ensure the species’ long-term survival in the state.

“We filed the petition because it is time to have the federal classification match the Minnesota reality,” Holsten said. He also said Minnesota should not have to wait for a resolution of national wolf conservation issues because its population is “fully recovered” already.

The Fish and Wildlife Service returned the wolf in the western Great Lakes region to the endangered list in September to settle a lawsuit by environmental and animal protection groups, including the Humane Society of the United States. The agency acknowledged it failed to hold a legally required public comment period before it took the animals off the list for the region. … [more]

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