Billings, Montana – A federal judge in Montana has rejected a
request by the government to delay a lawsuit seeking to place the
gray wolf back on the endangered species list, saying he's "unwilling to risk more deaths."
At least 39 of the Northern Rockies' 1,500 gray wolves have been
killed since they lost federal protection in March. That action
placed wolves under the authority of state wildlife agencies in
Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
All three states have relaxed rules for killings wolves that
harass or harm livestock and are planning public hunts later this
year - the first in decades.
Environmentalists argue the loss of federal protection threatens
the wolf's recovery.
In rejecting the government's request for a two-week extension,
Molloy set a hearing for May 29 in Missoula.