MISSOULA, Mont. -- A federal appeals court has declared moot a case challenging the U.S. government's decision to remove federal protections from Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy previously ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service improperly removed wolves in Montana and Idaho from the list of protected animals under the Endangered Species Act.
But last year, Congress approved a budget rider that ruled wolves in the Northern Rockies are a recovered species. Montana and Idaho resumed wolf hunts that fall.
The Missoulian reports a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday granted a request by those states and private organizations to declare Molloy's ruling "dismissed, vacated and remanded."
The appellate judges ordered Molloy to consider the case moot.