A federal judge has overturned a rule change that would have allowed ranchers to kill wolves that are seen attacking livestock.
The judge in Portland, Oregon, ruled that the Bush administration violated the Endangered Species Act when it relaxed protections on gray wolves.
Two years ago, the U.S. reclassified the gray wolves in most of the U.S. as threatened instead of endangered.
The environmental group Center for Biological Diversity says the rule change allowed ranchers to shoot wolves on sight if they were attacking livestock.
A federal wolf recovery coordinator says no private citizen has killed a wolf to defend private property since the rule went into effect.