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BOISE, Idaho - Idaho's governor said Thursday he will support public hunts to kill all but 100 of the state's gray wolves after the federal government strips them of protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter told The Associated Press that he wants hunters to kill about 550 gray wolves. That would leave about 100 wolves, or 10 packs, according to a population estimate by state wildlife officials.
The 100 surviving wolves would be the minimum before the animals could again be considered endangered.
Otter complained that wolves are rapidly killing elk and other animals essential to Idaho's multimillion-dollar hunting industry. The hunters, many wearing camouflage clothing and blaze-orange caps, applauded wildly during his comments.
Wolves were reintroduced to the northern Rocky Mountains a decade ago after being hunted to near-extinction. More than 1,200 now live in the region.