BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials have rejected a petition from advocates who sought to reclassify gray wolves as a threatened species in most of the U.S.
Gray wolves across most of the Lower 48 are classified as endangered, which is more protective than a threatened designation. Advocates hoped a change to threatened would pre-empt intervention from members of Congress who want to lift federal protections altogether.READ MORE: 'What Are The Odds?': Mountain Biker's Life Saved By Off-Duty Doctor On Minnesota Trail
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a Tuesday notice that the petitioners didn’t sufficiently back up their claims that wolves remain at risk due to disease and other factors.READ MORE: Minneapolis Man Charged In Conspiracy To Distribute Fentanyl
The petition was filed in January by more than a dozen groups including The Center for Biological Diversity.
Wolves in Minnesota already are listed as threatened. The animals are not federally protected in the Northern Rockies.MORE NEWS: Kerfoot Canopy Tour Offers A Unique View Of Minnesota's Fall Colors
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)