Fight over US wolf protections goes before federal judge

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. government attorneys have asked a federal judge to uphold a decision from the waning days of the Trump administration that lifted protections for gray wolves across most of the country. The request during a Friday hearing before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in California came as officials in Republican-led states including Wisconsin, Montana and Idaho have sought to drive down wolf numbers through aggressive hunting and trapping.

Wildlife advocates say the hunts threaten to reverse the gray wolf’s recovery to large parts of the West and Midwest over the past several decades. They want a protections restored for wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

Judge Jeffrey White did not immediately rule.