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WASHINGTON — The gray wolf is poised to lose its endangered species protections. 

Acting Secretary of the Interior Department David Bernhardt announced the decision yesterday. 

In 1975, the gray wolf population was down to about a thousand in the lower 48 states.  Now, the numbers are up to around five thousand. 

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is happy about the plan and says it should have happened sooner. 

Conservationists, though, are worried about new grey wolf populations struggling to become established in areas where the wolf is present, but not yet stable. 

In 2013, the Obama administration had proposed delisting the wolves from endangered status, but the federal courts rejected that move.

 (Photo by Matt Cameron/National Parks Service.)