SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The director of Oregon's wildlife department has told the federal government the state agency supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposal to take the gray wolf off the endangered species list, drawing fire from conservation groups and an Oregon congressman.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Curtis Melcher, in a May 9 letter that came to light only this week, said his department supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's determination that the gray wolf in the lower 48 states and Mexico no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer , an Oregon Democrat, said Wednesday he is "shocked and appalled" by Melcher's stance, saying the state wildlife agency director has abdicated his mission to protect fish and wildlife.

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