Minnesota State Government To Manage Wolf Population
In Minnesota, wolves have been removed from the federal endangered species list, now allowing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to manage the state’s wolf population. The state’s wolf population, which was estimated to be only 750 animals in the 1950s, has since rebounded to a stable population of about 3,000 wolves.
Wolves were taken off the list of federal endangered species in March of 2007, but a federal court ruling reinstated the status in late 2008.
The objective of state management is ostensibly to protect and monitor wolf populations while giving owners of livestock and pets additional protection from the animals. The state is divided into two management zones. The more protective regulations are in the northern third of Minnesota, where wolves are more concentrated.
The Minnesota wolf management plan provides for a minimum population of 1,600 wolves. The state wolf population was below 750 in the 1950s and is currently near 3,000. The recent delisting opens the door for private citizens to shoot or otherwise kill wolves in certain circumstances. However, any person shooting or destroying a gray wolf must protect all evidence, report the incident within 48 hours and surrender the wolf carcass.
State regulations allow wolves to be killed in order to defend human life or if there is an immediate threat to personal property. Animal farmers seeking to protect their “livestock” from gray wolf predation are a significant factor in the delisting of wolves.