Oregon's DeFazio wants buffer for wolves around Yellowstone

Oregon's DeFazio wants buffer for wolves around Yellowstone
FILE -- U.S. Congressman Peter Defazio is shown during an interview in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, April 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — An Oregon congressman is asking the Interior Department to work with states to curb gray wolf hunting around Yellowstone National Park.

Rep. Peter DeFazio is the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.

He said in a Tuesday letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell that hunters killing wolves just outside Yellowstone's boundary could hurt the overall health of the park's ecosystem.

DeFazio asked for a "wolf safety zone" or buffer around the park, which includes parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. He also asked Jewell to establish a task force to devise protections for wolves around other national parks.

State officials have resisted prior calls from wildlife advocates seeking an outright ban on wolf hunting around the park. However, quotas in some areas limit how many can be killed annually.

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