According to the Associated Press, a proposal to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states has been put forth by U.S. wildlife officials.

The proposal was announced during a speech Wednesday by acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Denver.

A major contributing factor to the decision is said to be that gray wolves have nearly completely recovered from extreme low levels in the late 1990s.

The gray wolf was granted protections in 1975 when there were roughly only a few hundred remaining in the U.S.

Protections for the animal were lifted in our region in 2011.