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Trump admin ends gray wolf protections except for Mexican gray wolves in Southwest

The action ends longstanding federal safeguards, except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.
Credit: AP
FILE - This June 29, 2017, file remote camera image provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows a female gray wolf and two of the three pups born in 2017 in the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California. Trump administration officials on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states in charge of overseeing the predators. (U.S. Forest Service via AP, File)

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota — 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. 

Credit: AP
FILE - This June 30, 2017 remote camera image released by the U.S. Forest Service shows a female gray wolf and her mate with a pup born in 2017 in the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California. Trump administration officials on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states in charge of overseeing the predators. (U.S. Forest Service via AP, File)

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.

Mexican gray wolves remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.