Protections for gray wolves restored

July 21, 2008 12:45:39 PM PDT
A federal judge in Montana has ordered gray wolves in the Northern Rockies be returned to the endangered species list. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction Friday, restoring federal protections for the wolves.

The predator was removed from the endangered species list in March, following a decade-long restoration effort. Environmentalists sued to overturn the decision.

Officials in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have been moving forward with plans for public hunts. Molloy's ruling is expected to derail those plans.

The region has an estimated 2,000 wolves, a population that has been soaring and increasingly preying on livestock.