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Minnesota DNR finalizes updated wolf management plan

Gray Wolf Taken In Yellowstone Np
The Minnesota DNR released its updated wolf management plan on Dec. 20, 2022 that will help guide the state's management of wolves in Minnesota for the next 10 years. Photo by Stan Tekiela

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has finalized an updated wolf management plan that will guide the state’s approach to wolf conservation for the next 10 years.

The finalization of the plan, which the DNR said incorporates the diverse views that Minnesotans have toward wolves, was announced in a DNR press release on Dec. 20.

“We’re proud we brought people together to update Minnesota’s wolf plan,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in the release. “We had great engagement from tribes, state and federal agencies, academia, and groups and individuals interested in wolves.” 

The full updated plan is available on the DNR’s wolf plan page. This is the first update to Minnesota’s wolf plan since 2001.

Six goals are listed in the plan that the DNR said are designed to support Minnesota’s vision for wolves. They are:

  • Maintain a well-connected and resilient wolf population
  • Collaborate with diverse partners to collectively support wolf plan implementation
  • Minimize and address human-wolf conflicts 
  • Inform and engage the public about wolves in Minnesota 
  • Conduct research to inform wolf management 
  • Administer the wolf program to fulfill agency responsibilities and the needs of the public and partners.

“The plan reflects the breadth of input received through the process to update the plan,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist. “Information in the plan describes current knowledge of the wolf population, Minnesotans’ attitudes toward wolves, and guides the approach to the future conservation and management of wolves in Minnesota.”

The plan also includes a framework for how the state will approach decisions about wolf hunting or trapping if the wolf is delisted federally.

“The DNR is continuing Minnesota’s longstanding commitment to wolf conservation and ensuring that our wolf population remains healthy and stable,” said Kelly Straka, DNR wildlife section manager. “Thank you to everyone who engaged in the planning process. Minnesotans’ involvement has been critical to establishing the comprehensive vision for wolves that is reflected in this plan.”

To inform the wolf plan update, the DNR conducted a public opinion survey, consulted with technical experts and tribal staff, and convened a 20-member wolf advisory committee. 

Advisory committee members represented perspectives that included hunting and trapping, wolf advocacy and animal rights, livestock and agriculture, and other interests related to wolf conservation and management. 

The DNR’s public engagement efforts during the process of updating the plan included input meetings, forums, online questionnaires and public review of a draft plan.

Read much more about the updated wolf management plan in future issues of Outdoor News, including this week’s Dec. 23 print issue of the Minnesota paper.

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