Minnesota releases updated draft gray wolf management plan – WIZM 92.3FM 1410AM

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s gray wolf population is resilient and hardy, wildlife managers said Thursday as they released an updated draft plan to keep it that way.

The Department of Natural Resources has set out a plan for the next 10 years to both strengthen conservation and minimize human-predator conflict. It calls for maintaining a statewide population of between 2,200 and 3,000 wolves. This matches recent annual estimates of around 2,700 and roughly since the late 1990s.

“Wolf conservation is a high priority for DNR and we expect this updated plan to help ensure Minnesota’s wolf population remains healthy,” said Wildlife Section Manager Kelly Straka. of the agency, in a press release.

Of the estimated 6,000 gray wolves in the lower 48 states, nearly half are in Minnesota.

The plan does not take a position on whether Minnesota should resume wolf hunting if gray wolves are again removed from endangered species protection. Minnesota held three wolf hunting seasons, from 2012 to 2014, before a court reinstated federal protections.

However, the draft includes a framework for future decision-making on wolf seasons. This involves ensuring that tribal governments are consulted “with the aim of identifying and pursuing a mutually acceptable decision”. The federal government would continue to compensate farmers for livestock killed by wolves and could send trappers to kill wolves in the area.

The DNR will host an informational webinar on July 13. Public comments will be accepted until August 8th. The DNR hopes to finalize the plan in early fall.

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