MINNEAPOLIS— The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released a report today analyzing Minnesotans’ attitudes toward wolves. A key finding is that 87% of residents agree that maintaining the state’s wolf population is important.
“Minnesotans treasure our state’s wolves, and these findings send a powerful message to wildlife managers,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Despite consistently strong public support for wolves, officials have too often catered to a few livestock operators who want these magnificent animals killed. We hope this report prompts our wildlife agency to do a better job of reflecting the wolf-friendly values of most people in Minnesota.”
The study focused on three groups: residents, deer hunters and livestock operators. Most surveyed residents (87%) and deer hunters (66.8%) expressed support for maintaining the state’s wolf population. The responses of livestock operators reflected a split, with 47.2% expressing support and 42.5% expressing disapproval.
The survey did not consider the attitudes of additional stakeholders, such as wildlife watchers or conservationists.
The results of the report will be discussed Thursday during the department’s first meeting of the “Wolf Plan Advisory Committee.” The department selected citizen participants for the committee in February but then cancelled the first in-person meeting scheduled for April because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first meeting will now instead be hosted online.
The department has explained that the committee’s purpose is to “evaluate and update the 2001 Minnesota Wolf Management Plan by developing recommended wolf management options and preferences.” Committee members include representatives of local governments, wolf advocacy groups, environmental protection organizations, hunters and trappers and livestock operators.
“I’m excited to start work on this badly needed update of the state’s wolf-management plan,” said Adkins, who was selected for the Wolf Plan Advisory Committee. “We’ve learned so much about wolf biology and management over the past two decades. I want to make sure that the new plan reflects this science, as well as the values of most Minnesotans, who, like me, care about wolves and hope for their recovery.”
According to the department, the committee will have a minimum of three half-day meetings, which will be open to the public.