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updated: 1/24/2012 7:59 AM

Protection of gray wolves varies in Illinois

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  • State and federal officials say the level of protection for gray wolves in Illinois will depend on where they might roam.

      State and federal officials say the level of protection for gray wolves in Illinois will depend on where they might roam.
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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, -- State and federal officials say the level of protection for gray wolves in Illinois will depend on where they might roam.

Wolves north of Interstate 80 would be listed as threatened under state law, while any south of the interstate would remain on the federal Endangered Species list.

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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently lifted federal endangered status for gray wolves in portions of the Midwest because the animals exceeded recovery goals in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The change affects portions of adjoining states.

Officials say it's unlikely anyone will encounter a wolf in Illinois. But it's not impossible. Wolves' territory is expanding, and several have been seen in Illinois in the past 10 years. That includes a wolf struck by a car in McHenry County in 2005.

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