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Today's agreement marks the sixth time in the past five years that a federal government decision to strip wolves of Endangered Species Act protections has been stopped through legal action.

Wolves back under fed protection in Minnesota and the Great Lakes region

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Wolves in the Great Lakes region -- Minnesota included -- once again are back under federal protection under a court-ordered settlement announced today between the federal government and wolf protection groups.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humane Society of the U.S. agreed to the settlement after the groups filed suit to stop the federal government from handing wolf protection back to individual states.

There are about 3,000 wolves in Minnesota and more than 500 in each of Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. While indiscriminate wolf killing remained illegal under state wolf laws, all three states allowed for more liberal wolf killing by farmers and landowners.

The settlement comes in response to a federal court motion filed two weeks ago by the Humane Society of the U.S., the Center for Biological Diversity, Help Our Wolves Live, Friends of Animals and Their Environment and Born Free USA.

Today's agreement marks the sixth time in the past five years that a federal government decision to strip wolves of Endangered Species Act protections has been stopped through legal action.

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