A federal appeals court has denied a request by environmental groups to halt wolf hunts that are scheduled to begin next week in Idaho and Montana. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied the request by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and other groups. The groups were seeking an emergency injunction to cancel the hunts while the court considers a challenge to congressional action that stripped wolves of federal protections in Montana and Idaho, and in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula reluctantly upheld a budget rider that was inserted by Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson and Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. It marked the first time since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 that Congress forcibly removed protections from a plant or animal.

Story from AP