"BILLINGS, Mont. — Tens of thousands of gray wolves would be returned to the woods of New England, the mountains of California, the wide open Great Plains and the desert West under a scientific petition filed Tuesday with the federal government.
The predators were poisoned and trapped to near-extermination in the United States last century, but have since clawed their way back to some of the most remote wilderness in the lower 48 states.
That recovery was boosted in the 1990s by the reintroduction of 66 wolves in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Yet as those first packs have flourished, increased livestock killings and declining big game herds have drawn sharp backlash from ranchers, hunters and officials in the Northern Rockies.
But biologists with the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity want to expand that recovery across the country. A few isolated pockets of wolves, they say, are not enough."
Matthew Brown reports for the Associated Press July 20, 2010.