Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

Over 23,000 people from 33 states have applied for one of 6,000 permits to hunt gray wolves in Minnesota when its hunting season opens in November. After several years of back-and-forth between hunters and conservation groups, the wolves are -- as of right now, anyway -- no longer considered a "protected" species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, paving the way for different states to make changes in their policies. At 3,000, the population of Minnesota's gray wolves is higher than in any other state except Alaska, and the state will allow the killing of up to 400. Licenses will be issued by lottery on October 14.

What's the Big Idea?

The announcement comes a week after Wyoming's wolves lost their protected status as well, and in their case, they are walking targets: Labeled "predatory" as of October 1, they can be killed almost anywhere at any time. However, Wyoming and neighboring states must still maintain a certain minimum population in order to keep the wolves from regaining protected status. Needless to say, local conservation groups have announced that they will file a lawsuit in protest.

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