Gray Wolf To Be Removed From Endangered List In New Federal Government Plan

12/13/2010 05:47 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The federal government is planning another attempt to remove gray wolves in the Great Lakes region from the endangered species list.

An assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Thomas Strickland, says the department will release a proposal by April and hopes to make a final decision by the end of 2011.

Biologists say the wolf has made a strong comeback from near-extinction in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The government has tried three times in the past seven years to remove federal protections and return management of the region's wolves to the states – most recently in 2009. But federal courts have overruled the decisions in response to lawsuits by environmentalists and animal rights groups.

Officials say they believe the new plan will withstand court challenges.