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Wyoming to give feds 1 more chance before filing wolf lawsuit

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The state will give the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service one more chance to reconsider its rejection of Wyoming's wolf management plan before going to court, Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Friday.

The governor plans to send the federal agency a letter Monday asking officials "one more time is there any chance you want to modify your position," he said.

Fish and Wildlife has 10 days to respond. If nothing changes, the state is prepared to file its suit, said Freudenthal, adding the complaint was on his desk.

"You can always file suit, but it never hurts to ask one more time if there's a way to avoid it," he said.

The state wants to sue over Fish and Wildlife's rejection of its wolf management plan in January. Plans for Idaho and Montana were approved, and the animals can't be removed from Endangered Species Act protection until the plans of all three states are deemed acceptable.

In rejecting Wyoming's plan, Fish and Wildlife cited concerns with the state's "dual classification" of wolves - as trophy game animals with strict protections in northwest Wyoming and as predators in the rest of the state that can be shot more or less on sight.

A compromise to avoid litigation was rejected by the Legislature earlier this year.

Nearly eradicated in the early 20th century, wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and have since thrived. Twelve packs now inhabit the park and six roam outside the park in Wyoming.


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