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Forum News Service, Published July 09 2013

Minnesota plans lower quota after number of wolves falls

DULUTH, Minn. - A survey across Minnesota’s northern forest last winter showed the state has about 2,211 wolves, down some from the most recent survey in 2008.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced the revised estimate Tuesday after a winter-long survey taken by biologists and other wildlife experts.

The number is down about 710 from the state’s last major wolf count taken during the winter of 2007-08 and comes on the heels of last autumn’s controversial wolf hunting and trapping seasons when 413 wolves were killed. They were the first regulated wolf seasons in Minnesota and the first sanctioned public killing of wolves since the 1960s. The hunt was allowed only after the wolf population had recovered enough to be taken off the federal endangered species list earlier in 2012.

Another 200 or so wolves were trapped and killed last year, as they are each year, under a government-sanctioned program that targets wolves near where livestock have been attacked.

Although lower than the 2008 wolf population survey midpoint estimate of 2,921 wolves, the population exceeds the state’s minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves and is above the federal recovery goal range of 1,251 to 1,400 animals.