SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — A group of experts is reviewing whether the federal proposal to lift more Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf is scientifically valid.
A research center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, assembled the experts at the request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the agency used the best available science to conclude that gray wolves no longer need protection.
Wolves have already lost federal protections in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes. Fish and Wildlife now wants to lift protections in the rest of the United States, except for a small area of the Southwest.
The scientific review is due by the end of January. Fish and Wildlife is to make a final decision on wolf protections by the end of 2014.