It’s now official.

From The New York Times:
Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies will be removed from the endangered species list, following a 13-year restoration effort that helped the animal’s population soar, federal officials said Thursday. . . .

”We’re confident the wolf has a secure future in the Northern Rocky Mountains,” said Interior Assistant Secretary Lyle Laverty in a statement. . . .

The loss of federal protection allows the three states to move forward with plans allowing hunters to target the animals, possibly as soon as this fall.

And from the Missoulan:
For the first time ever, Montana has a wolf huting season.
[The] decision to delist [these wolves] . . . is expected to be litigated, which could tie up the matter in court, meaning wolves might not actually be hunted for years.

Still, Wednesday’s decision by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission to set dates for the 2008 hunting season – Oct. 26 through Dec. 31 – is momentous.