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Gray wolves stripped of federal endangered species protections

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Oct. 29 (UPI) — The U.S Department of the Interior announced Thursday it was lifting endangered species protections for gray wolves in the United States, saying the 45-year recovery of U.S. wolves has “exceeded all conservation goals.”

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt compared the success of wolves protected in regions of the country under Endangered Species Act to that of the bald eagle.

“Today’s action reflects the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to species conservation,” said Bernhardt in a statement. “After more than 45 years as a listed species, the gray wolf has exceeded all conservation goals for recovery. Today’s announcement simply reflects the determination that this species is neither a threatened nor endangered species based on the specific factors Congress has laid out in the law.”

The de-listing means that the management of wolves will be determined by state and tribe wildlife agencies in more states than they currently are, including in the Midwest in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, as well as in Colorado, Utah and California.

Environmentalists opposed the plan.

“This attempt to return vulnerable wolf populations to state control is the latest chapter in a years-long quest to scapegoat a vital keystone species, despite the courts repeatedly finding a lack of scientific or legal basis for delisting,” said Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute in a statement.

State management plans regulate the hunting of wolves by hunters and ranchers and vary in methods of hunting allowed, including killing wolves from winged aircraft. Some states, such as Wyoming and Idaho have high limits on the number of wolves that can be killed. Gray wolves are still protected by state laws in Colorado and California.

About 6,000 wolves now roam in the northern parts of the United States. Wolves were almost hunted to extinction by 1973, when the species was down to around 145 animals and gray wolves were first put under federal protections.

About 70 wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and on tribal land in Idaho. The animals have since made a comeback over 25 years, spreading to eastern Oregon, Washington and Montana, as well as into Wyoming and Utah.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has attempted multiple times to de-list gray wolves from the lower 48 states, but has been stopped by lawsuits.

In Colorado, where a referendum initiative to restore gray wolves to the state’s western slope is on Tuesday’s ballot, wolf advocates said stripping wolves of federal protections would make reintroduction harder, even though gray wolves are still protected under Colorado law.

“In Colorado, the wolf has been functionally extinct for nearly 80 years and remains so today,” said Rob Edward of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund. “More than ever, we need wolves to restore the balance in our mountain ecosystems. We need to reintroduce wolves to improve the health of our elk and deer herds, which are suffering from a high prevalence of the always-fatal chronic wasting disease.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday’s announcement was “yet another example of the Trump administration undermining longstanding, bedrock protections for our air, water, landscapes and wildlife.”

About 150 Mexican red wolves and Mexican gray wolves remain in the United States. Those species remain listed as endangered under federal protection.



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Watch: Justin Bieber wants ‘tribe’ of kids with Hailey Baldwin

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Dec. 1 (UPI) — Justin Bieber hopes to have “a little tribe” of kids with his wife, Hailey Baldwin.

The 26-year-old singer discussed his plans to have children with Baldwin, 24, during Tuesday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Bieber said he wants to have as many kids as possible with Baldwin, a model.

“I’m going to have as many as Hailey is wishing to push out,” the star said. “I’d love to have myself a little tribe, but yeah, it’s her body and whatever she wants to do.”

“I think she wants to have a few, at least two or three,” he added.

Bieber said he and Baldwin are waiting to have children until Baldwin accomplishes more of her goals.

“There’s not really an issue, but I think Hailey still has some things she wants to accomplish as a woman,” he said. “I think she’s just not ready yet, and I think that’s okay.”

Bieber also discussed the road trip he and Baldwin took during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We definitely enjoyed ourselves. Got to travel across North America. We went all the way home to Canada on the bus,” he said. “It was a good time.”

During the trip, Bieber had a scary experience where his jet ski broke and the boat sent to retrieve him also broke down. Bieber had to swim to safety in freezing cold water.

“It was dangerous,” he said.

Bieber and Baldwin married in September 2018 and had a second wedding with family and friends in October 2019. The couple danced together in Baldwin’s first TikTok video in March.

Bieber released the song “Monster” with Shawn Mendes in November.



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Look: Gigi Hadid, Zayn Malik share moment in throwback pregnancy photos

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Dec. 1 (UPI) — Celebrity couple Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik share a sweet moment in throwback photos from Hadid’s pregnancy.

The 25-year-old model posted unseen pictures from her pregnancy Monday on Instagram.

The photos show a pregnant Hadid posing outside in a formfitting dress. One of the pictures shows Malik, 27, resting his head on Hadid’s baby bump.

Hadid and Malik welcomed their first child, a baby girl, in September.

“Our girl joined us earth-side this weekend and she’s already changed our world. So in love,” Hadid said on Instagram at the time.

“To try to put into words how i am feeling right now would be an impossible task,” Malik added on Twitter. “The love i feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine, & thankful for the life we will have together.”

Hadid called her daughter her “bestie” in an Instagram post last week. She later gave a glimpse of her baby girl’s head in a new photo. Hadid and Malik’s daughter has blonde hair.

Hadid had confirmed her pregnancy on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in May after reports surfaced.

“Obviously, you know, we wish we could have announced it on our own terms, but we’re very excited and happy and grateful for everyone’s well-wishes and support,” she said.

Hadid and Malik have had an on-again, off-again relationship since 2015. Hadid is known for her modeling work with Guess and Victoria’s Secret, while Malik is a singer and a former member of One Direction.



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Awkwafina, Rashida Jones to be honored at 2020 Muse Awards

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Dec. 1 (UPI) — Awkwafina, Rashida Jones, Rachel Brosnahan and more are set to be honored at the 2020 Muse Awards, presented by New York Women in Film and Television.

The 41st annual ceremony will take place virtually on Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. EST. New York Women in Film and Television are offering tickets to watch the event with viewers allowed to pay what they can.

The Muse Awards honors women in front of and behind the camera across film, television, music and digital media.

Awkwafina will be receiving the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment Made in N.Y. Award. Director, writer and producer Gina Prince-Bythewood will receive the Nancy Malone Directing Award, while actress Ali Stroker will receive the Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award.

Journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and President of Orion Pictures Alana Mayo will also be honored at the event along with Jones and Brosnahan.



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