In the proposed hunting plan, Montana officials have asked permission to perform a “conservation hunt” that would allow them to exterminate 186 gray wolves.
Idaho officials are seeking permission to slaughter 50 gray wolves.
The two states are seeking to wipe out these endangered creatures because officials feel that the gray wolves are eating too many elk in the region.
The gray wolf species had previously not been on the endangered species list, but had their status returned after an August 5 ruling from United States District Judge Donald Molloy.
Montana and Idaho Fish and Wildlife officials are now trying to circumvent the gray wolves’ endangered species status by way of federal approval and believe, according to the Associated Press that, “their plans to kill wolves were permissible under the Endangered Species Act.”
Gray Wolf Species Information
The gray wolf species is endangered in almost every state in the United States except in Minnesota where they are considered a “threatened” species and Alaska, where they are not designated as endangered.
At one point in time, over 2 million wolves roamed through over 57 countries, but those numbers have since dwindled to an estimated population of 200,000 worldwide.
In the United States it is estimated that there are between 7000-9000 wolves in the State of Alaska, researchers believe that there are no more than 3500 wolves remaining in the lower 48 states.
Shrinking territories and the increase of hunting and trapping have been the main cause of the decline of the gray wolf, which at one point almost drove them to the brink of extinction before being placed on the endangered species list in 1970.
While the gray wolf population has rebounded over the years, the species still has a ways to go before they can be taken off the endangered species list for good.