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For Immediate Release, July 9, 2013

Contact:  Collette L. Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821

Minnesota Announces Another Wolf Hunt Next Year Despite 25 Percent Drop in State's Wolf Population

MINNEAPOLIS— The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released a survey today showing Minnesota has lost approximately a quarter of its wolf population, down more than 700 wolves from the survey five years ago. The state agency estimates that Minnesota now has 2,211 wolves. But the low end of the agency’s estimate is 1,652 wolves — which approaches the state’s minimum population goal of 1,600 wolves. Despite this large decline, the agency announced, there will be another hunt next year. 

Gray wolf
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Retron. This photo is available for media use.

“This is a deeply alarming reduction in Minnesota’s wolf population. It shows that not only is there no need to hunt wolves to manage their numbers, but there’s real cause for concern about the impact of a hunt on a dramatically reduced wolf population,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Minneapolis-based attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity who represented the groups in the lawsuit that challenged the hunt. “Sport hunting and trapping strains a Minnesota wolf population that’s already under dangerous pressure from a declining prey population, disease, depredation control and illegal killing.”

Hunters and trappers killed more than 400 wolves during Minnesota’s first wolf hunting and trapping seasons. State agents and private landowners killed approximately 300 more wolves to protect livestock. Hunting and trapping may actually increase conflicts between wolves and livestock by disrupting pack dynamics and creating more lone wolves that are more likely to target livestock out of desperation.

“Hundreds of wolves needlessly died during last year’s sport hunt,” said Adkins Giese. “To ensure that wolves can continue to play their important ecological role in Minnesota, the state should call off the hunt for next year.”

In May the Minnesota Court of Appeals denied a legal challenge, brought by the Center and Howling for Wolves, to stop hunting and trapping of wolves in the state. The lawsuit argued that the Department of Natural Resources failed to provide sufficient opportunity for public comment before allowing killing of wolves, which is opposed by a broad swath of the public. But the court ruled that the conservation groups lacked “standing” to sue because they could not demonstrate that the state agency’s actions had caused injury to their interests. The conservation groups declined to seek review by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 500,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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