by Dave Strandberg
ST. PAUL, MN (KDAL) – Results from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ 2016-1017 wolf population survey suggest Minnesota’s wolf population has increased 25 percent since the 2015-2016 survey.
After remaining stable during the past four years, the survey estimates that within Minnesota’s wolf range there were approximately 500 wolf packs and 2,856 wolves. The survey’s margin of error is about plus or minus 500 wolves. The 2015-2016 survey estimated the number of packs at 439 and the wolf population at 2,278.
Minnesota’s wolf population remains well above the state’s minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves and also above the federal recovery goal of 1,251 to 1,400. The DNR has consistently managed wolf populations at levels that exceed both state and federal minimums.
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. Minnesota currently has no direct management responsibility for wolves now because a federal district court ruling in December 2014 returned Minnesota’s wolves to the federal list of threatened species. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages all animals on that list.
Visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/wolves to find the full population survey report, reported wolf mortalities and an overview of wolves in Minnesota.