(AP) - State wildlife officials have opened the door to stripping the California gray wolf of protections once the endangered animal has established a target population.
The state's Department of Fish and Wildlife says that when at least 50 gray wolves are confirmed in California, it may reconsider their protected status granted last year.
Nearly a century ago, Wolves were killed off in California, but in 2011, a lone wolf called OR-7 crossed the northern border from Oregon, marking their return.
This year, remote cameras in Siskiyou County captured two adults and five pups, called the Shasta Pack.
Their return is heralded by environmentalists, while ranchers fear wolf packs will kill their valuable livestock.
State wildlife officials are now asking for the public's feedback on the draft management plan.