RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Federal authorities say they'll extend their review of red wolf management in North Carolina after a judge ruled that a plan to shrink the territory of the only wild population of the animals violates endangered species protections.
In a statement posted online Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called the additional time an opportunity to evaluate the decision's implications.
A federal judge ruled that the agency also violated the Endangered Species Act by authorizing private landowners to kill the canine predators when they aren't threatening humans, livestock or pets. The lawsuit by the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Institute argued that the government's neglect allowed the population to decline.
About 35 red wolves remain in the wild, down from about 120 a decade ago.