TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ/AP) – Gray wolves in Michigan and throughout the western Great Lakes region are protected by federal law once more.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a rule Friday designating wolves in Michigan and Wisconsin as “endangered” and those in Minnesota as “threatened.”

READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Theaters & Politics

The rule complies with a federal judge’s order in December that overruled the agency’s earlier decision to revoke wolves’ protected status and hand management authority to the states.

It means sport hunting and trapping of Great Lakes wolves is no longer permissible.

READ MORE: CDC: New Listeria Outbreak Tied To 23 Illnesses, 1 Death

A spokesman says the agency hasn’t decided whether to appeal the court ruling. Legislation to overturn it has been introduced in Congress.

More than 50 scientists this week signed a letter to Congress saying wolves occupy a small fraction of their former range and still need legal protection.

MORE NEWS: Red Wings Hire Lightning Assistant Derek Lalonde As Coach

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.