If you're feeling like the U.S. government is only picking on American humans this week, consider the wolves hunted very nearly to extinction until federal endangered species protection brought them back from the brink. As of today, wolves are on their own again.
The Obama Administration is bowing to pressure from Western ranchers and hunting groups to make it open season on the predators. Wolves are "keystone predators" that have immense effects on entire ecosystems, from the health of deer and elk populations to the ability of forests to regenerate.
Hunters and trappers already are targeting the predators in states where protections previously were lifted. They’ve killed some 1,600 wolves in the past several years in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Thousands more have been killed by government wildlife agents.