BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – A judge has put gray wolves in the Northern Rockies back on the endangered species list about seven months after the federal government took them off.

The order from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula means the federal government must either drop or overhaul its proposal to strip wolves of federal protection – a process likely to drag on for at least several months.

Wyoming, Idaho and Montana had planned public wolf hunts this fall but environmentalists sued to keep the species protected. Molloy blocked the state hunts in July, and last month federal wildlife officials asked the judge to put wolves back on the list.

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