Wolves in the cross-hairs -- again!

Once protected, then not, then protected again, the gray wolf has had a bumpy year. Now the Bush Administration has announced it will once again try to remove Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in the northern Rockies.

Seriously? After their previous attempt, when the courts ruled that the move to end protections for wolves was "arbitrary and capricious," the Bush Admin is now trying again, using the exact same criteria as they did before.

Of course, those "criteria" have few scientific merits, and basically boil down to "we want to let people build things where wolves are living."

America has invested millions of dollars in wolf recovery over the last few decades, and the species still has a long way to go before it can be considered safe. Scientists agree that a population of several thousand wolves is needed to maintain genetic diversity, and that isolated groups, especially in Yellowstone, need to access to other wolf packs for healthy breeding.

The Bush team is also still trying to push through its disemboweling of the Endangered Species Act before they leave office. Let's hope they fail on all counts.

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