– The gray wolf has been in danger in recent weeks of losing the federal protection that for decades has kept it from being hunted.

But the congressional ardor to end the protection — and make it easier to trap or shoot the wolves — is fading fast.

House Republicans last month passed legislation to remove gray wolves in 48 states from the list of species shielded by the Endangered Species Act. The removal of the act’s federal protections would leave laws regulating wolf killing up to the states. It would lift restrictions on logging, grazing and construction in wolf habitats that were previously prohibited or required consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said spokesman Gavin Shire.

But the initiative has been stuck in the Senate, and with only days remaining in this year’s congressional session, key backers are not optimistic that the bill will go anywhere. The bill would then expire.

In the Senate, the HELP for Wildlife Act, would remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. But it has been met with resistance from many Democrats.