After just a couple months off the endangered species list, the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes is back to “threatened” status. A government reversal, not a sudden drop in the 4,000-plus wolf population, put the animals back on the protected list, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which manages the endangered list, removed the wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin in early May for the first time since they were placed under federal protection 35 years ago.

But the agency neglected to get public comment before making the change, prompting a lawsuit from a handful of environmental groups. A settlement will reverse the removal.

“We hope that the Fish & Wildlife Service will honestly assess the scientific information it previously refused to review,” said Nicole Paquette, senior vice president of Born Free USA, an animal protection nonprofit, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

State and federal agencies maintain that the wolf populations have recovered from past overhunting. They will continue to press for removal of the wolves from the protected ranks.

“We need the flexibility to properly manage wolves and address them preying on livestock and pets,” a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The state department estimated that wolves were responsible for killing 21 dogs and 43 farm animals last year.

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