August 8, 2008
August 8, 2008 - Minnesota's gray wolf population remains constant in size and range, according to a new study by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The study shows that there are an estimated 2,922 gray wolves in Minnesota, compared to an estimate of 2,450 in 1998 and 3,020 in 2004. The new data also shows that the range of Minnesota's gray wolves encompasses about 34,100 square miles of northern Minnesota.
"The population estimates from the past three surveys are statistically similar," said John Erb, Ph.D., a DNR wolf research biologist. "The lack of notable change in wolf numbers is not surprising given that northern deer populations have remained relatively stable since 1998, and most forested portions of northern Minnesota are already occupied by wolves."
The study also found that midwinter pack size was 4.9 wolves and that wolf packs occupied territories that averaged 40 square miles in size.
The animal has had a renaissance in recent years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, causing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Western Great Lakes region in March 2007.
"This survey presents more evidence that the gray wolf continues to be recovered in Minnesota and that Minnesota's state wolf management program is effectively protecting wolves," said Dan Stark, the DNR's wolf management specialist. Reprinted from Associated Press