1 Sep 2012

Wyoming ends protection of wolves

8:53 pm on 1 September 2012

The United States government has announced it's ending the protection of wolves in the state of Wyoming.

The decision by US Fish and Wildlife Service comes after a 20-year programme to grow the wolf population.

Environmental groups threatened legal action against the move.

The BBC reports the wolf was hunted almost to extinction in Wyoming and other US states by fur traders and hunters in the 1930s.

In the 1990s, 14 wolves from Canada quickly reproduced after they were released in Yellowstone National Park in north-west Wyoming.

There are now thought to be about 270 wolves outside Yellowstone in the western US state.

The federal government says the wolf population in Wyoming is now stable enough to allow the animals to be hunted, but they say only under strict conditions.

The state must maintain at least 10 breeding pairs of wolves and no fewer than 100 animals.

Those now inhabiting the national parks will continue to be protected and can't be killed.

Conservationists say the management plan treats the animals as unwanted vermin rather than valuable wildlife.