CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The federal government is ending protections for wolves in Wyoming.

The announcement Friday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endorses a plan that allows the wolves to be shot on sight in most parts of the state. It retains protections in certain areas.

The move quickly sparked promises of legal challenges from environmental groups, which argue wolves still need protection to maintain their successful recovery.

There are about 270 wolves in the state outside Yellowstone National Park. More wolves live in Yellowstone, but are protected within the bounds of the park.

There are about another 1,100 or so in Montana and Idaho.

Wyoming has been chaffing under federal wolf protections for years. Ranchers and hunters complain that wolves kill too many cattle and other wildlife.

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