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Debate On Bringing Wolves Back To Rocky Mountain National Park Goes To U.S. Court

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DENVER — An argument over whether wolves should be returned to Rocky Mountain National Park to reduce an overabundance of elk is moving to a federal appeals court.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado will hear arguments in the case Thursday.

The park sometimes has so many elk that they overgraze the trees, shrubs and grass, leaving other animals without enough food and habitat. The park uses National Park Service personnel and trained volunteers to periodically shoot and kill a specified number of elk.

WildEarth Guardians sued in 2008, saying officials didn't fully consider reintroducing wolves to prey on elk. The group also said using volunteers to shoot elk amounts to hunting, which is prohibited in national parks.

A district court judge rejected the claims and WildEarth Guardians appealed.

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