Trump officials end gray wolf protections across most of US

By MATTHEW BROWN, JOHN FLESHER and JIM MONE Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — The Trump administration has removed gray wolves in most of the U.S. from the endangered species list.

Thursday's action ends longstanding federal safeguards for the predators in the Lower 48 states, except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.

The announcement just days ahead of the election could allow hunting of the animals to resume in Great Lakes states -- a battleground region in the presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Gray wolves have recovered from near extinction in parts of the country but remain absent from much of their historical range.

Biologists who reviewed the administration's plan to strip protection from wolves say it lacked scientific justification.

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