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The Bush administration delisted wolves in the Great Lakes region in March 2007 and those in the Rocky Mountains in February 2008. Both decisions were sent back for further review after separate federal lawsuits.

Gray wolves were airlifted from Canada into the Northern Rockies in 1995 as part of the federal wolf-recovery program. The original goal was to establish 30 breeding pairs and 300 wolves across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming for at least three consecutive years.

The wolves thrived, meeting the recovery goal in 2002 and exceeding it in every year since. At the same time, ranchers have complained about packs attacking livestock and hunters and hikers have worried about their legal ability to protect themselves if confronted by wolves.

Wolves never disappeared from the Great Lakes region, but their numbers dipped to a few hundred in the 1970s. After being listed, the wolves have rebounded to about 4,000 throughout Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.