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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and environmentalists are at war over the agency’s latest plan to strip gray wolves of their federal protections and turn management of the often-reviled predators over to states and tribes.

“If the agency’s proposal gets finalized, we will see them in court,” Michael Robinson, a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity said on Wednesday. “Delisting is simply out of the question.”

Surprisingly, however, in the latest chapter of a long-running battle to keep an estimated 6,000 gray wolves safe from trophy hunters and trappers, the Center and the Humane Society of the United States are suggesting a compromise.

“We are proposing an alternate path forward — downlisting the gray wolf from federally endangered to threatened status,” said Brett Hartl, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. That action, he said, “would maintain federal protections the animal needs to survive in certain areas, while allowing states to share management oversight.”

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