The Obama administration is proposing to end recovery efforts for gray wolves across most of the U.S. and return management to the states.
Friday's announcement comes after wolves rebounded from widespread extermination during four decades on the endangered species list.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says ending federal protections would let the agency concentrate on restoring Mexican wolves in the Southwest.
Gray wolf protections previously were lifted in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes, which now have more than 6,100 wolves.
Some scientists and conservation groups insist the government's work isn't done. They say wolves need continued protections so they can return to parts of their historical range in the Pacific Northwest, the southern Rockies of Colorado and Utah and the Northeast.
Explore further: Draft rule ends protections for gray wolves