Idaho and Montana State Wolf Hunts Head to Court

Game and Fish photo
Game and Fish photo

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Wildlife advocates are due in federal court Tuesday seeking an injunction to stop gray wolf hunts already well under way in the Northern Rockies.

Federal biologists say the wolf population is healthy enough to support the hunts in Idaho and Montana. The two states want to drive down the predators' numbers to curb livestock attacks.

But wildlife advocates say too many wolves are being shot too quickly, threatening to unravel the species' decades-long recovery and killing animals closely followed by wolf watchers.

More than 150 wolves have been shot since hunting began in late August.

Tuesday's hearing is before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, Calif.

The hunts were allowed after Congress last spring took the unprecedented step of stripping endangered species protections from more than 1,300 wolves.

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