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Updated: 4:30 PM- Federal and state wildlife officials in Wyoming on Wednesday confirmed the shooting death of a wild gray wolf trapped six years ago in Utah and returned to Wyoming.
Eric Keszlar of the Wyoming Game & Fish department said the wolf, a male known as 253M, was one of four gray wolves killed Friday near Daniel in Sublette County. Friday was the first day gray wolves lost their federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The shooter reported the legal killing as required under Wyoming's wolf management plan, Keszlar said. The shooter's name and disposition of the carcasses are not considered public information, he said.
The wolf deaths were reported Tuesday on a Web site maintained by Ralph Maughan, a retired Idaho State University professor living in Pocatello.
Maughan and Franz Camenzind, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, said Tuesday night they had received a credible report of wolf 253M's death near a state-managed elk feedground.
Born in 2000, the wolf was one of only two confirmed to live in Utah during the past 75 years. In 2002, it was caught in a trap near Morgan and taken back to Yellowstone National Park, where it rejoined the Druid Peak pack.
The pack is perhaps the most famous of the wolves set free in the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf-recovery area, which in Utah includes a small area east of Interstates 84 and 15 and north of Interstate 80.
The wolf delisting means the affected states - Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah - now manage the wolves.
Camenzind said people knew the wolves had been hanging around the feeding ground. "On Friday, they went out and shot them," he said.
Wolf 253M "was a good wolf," he said. "He covered thousands of miles and didn't cause any trouble."
Wyoming's wolf management plan considers wolves predators that can be killed for any reason across most of the state. Only a small area near Yellowstone is off-limits, though Cowboy State wildlife officials plan to allow restricted fall hunting in the remaining protected area for trophy animals.
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance is one of several organizations that plan to file a lawsuit on April 28 against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its delisting decision.