DNR: Slight Decline in Wolf Populations; Going Ahead With Hunt

By KBJR News 1

DNR: Slight Decline in Wolf Populations; Going Ahead With Hunt

July 9, 2013 Updated Jul 9, 2013 at 6:53 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The wolf population remains firmly established on Minnesota’s landscape, according to a population survey conducted by the Department of Natural Resources.

The latest survey results estimate that within Minnesota’s wolf range there were 438 packs and 2,211 wolves last winter, which is down by 710 wolves from the survey five years ago.

The DNR is still planning on another conservative wolf season in the fall and winter of 2013. Officials hope to release the wolf quota by the end of July once the DNR has consulted with tribal leaders and studied the population further.

Although lower than the 2008 wolf population survey estimate of 2,921 wolves, the population exceeds the state’s minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves.

“Results from the 2013 wolf survey continue to demonstrate that Minnesota’s wolf population is fully recovered from its once threatened status and the population is responding naturally to the availability of deer, wolves’ primary food source,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist.

More frequent radio collaring of wolf packs will provide additional data on the population’s response to wolf season harvest. The DNR will also continue to monitor and regulate the take of wolves, to ensure that human-caused mortality will not exceed safe levels for long-term population sustainability.

Howling For Wolves, a group opposed to the wolf hunt, released the following statement on the wolf population survey"

“We are disappointed that the survey shows a significant decline in the Minnesota wolf population. This is a strong indication that we can’t afford another recreational wolf hunting and trapping season. There is no scientific reason to hunt wolves. We call on the DNR to refocus on their original management goals for wolves, which are to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota, and to resolve conflicts between wolves and humans.”

The DNR’s goal for wolf management, as outlined in the state’s wolf management plan, is to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing wolf-human conflicts that inevitably result when wolves and people live in the same vicinity.

The DNR’s wolf management plan includes wolf-specific population and health monitoring, research, depredation management, public education and law enforcement efforts.

To read more about Minnesota's wolf population, you can log onto the Department of Natural Resources website.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns