State takes control of wolf population

A gray wolf
A gray wolf in the wild.
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR

As of Monday, the state of Minnesota is back in charge of its gray wolf population. The federal government had been in control of the wolf for the past 30 years because it was under endangered species protection.

The change comes about after a rebound in the wolf population, particularly in Minnesota. Just 35 years ago, there were about 500 wolves estimated to roam northern Minnesota.

Wolf management zones
This map shows the two wolf management zones created by state officials to regulate Minnesota's gray wolf population.
Map courtesy of the Minnesota DNR

Today, there are an estimated 3,000 wolves in Minnesota, and another 500 each in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The change means state law now determines how wolves will be managed. In Minnesota, state law gives farmers more latitude in shooting wolves caught attacking livestock. Otherwise, it remains illegal to shoot wolves.

MPR' Cathy Wurzer spoke with Mike Don Carlos, the wildlife research and policy manager at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, about the changes.

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