MONTPELIER, Vt. — Some wildlife advocates are decrying a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to provide special protection for wolves in upstate New York, northern New England and Massachusetts.

Wildlife Service officials say the decision was made because there is no distinct breeding population of wolves in the region that could be protected. Its finding was published today.

However, individual wolves are occasionally found in the region and those animals are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

The advocates wanted the Wildlife Service to declare Northeast wolves a distinct population, which would require the federal government to create a plan to restore the animals.