Minnesota's gray wolves will be removed from the federal government's threatened species list and returned to state management in January.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Dec. 21, 2011, that it will publish a final de-listing rule in the Federal Register on Dec. 28. After a 30-day period, the Minnesota DNR will re-assume management of the gray wolf.
As it did after previous de-listing rules in 2007 and 2009, DNR will again manage the state's wolf population by state statute, rule and provisions of a wolf management plan. This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. (2.33 MB) Our wolf de-listing FAQ answers common questions.
Minnesota has a population of about 3,000 gray wolves, the largest population in the lower 48 states. This is roughly twice the number required in the federal government's wolf recovery plan.
The state wolf plan is designed to protect wolves and monitor their population while giving owners of livestock and domestic pets more protection from wolf depredation. It splits the state into two management zones with more protective regulations in the northern third, considered the wolf's core range.
The plan establishes a minimum population of 1,600 wolves to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota. The state's wolf population was estimated at fewer than 750 animals in the 1950s.
As required by the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor wolves in Minnesota for five years after de-listing to ensure that recovery continues.
Minnesota DNR position statement: "The Minnesota DNR is committed to ensuring the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota, and also to resolving conflicts between wolves and humans." http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/wolves/mgmt.html
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