Minnesota DNR hosting webinar on draft wolf plan

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The Minnesota DNR is updating the state’s wolf plan and inviting public comment for about the next month.

The current plan was written in 2001, and DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Dan Stark said the new plan will reflect information collected over the past 20 years and current public attitudes and preferences around wolves.

"We’re expanding that to not only ensure the survival of the wolves, but to make sure that we continue to have a healthy, widespread population across suitable range, that’s really been stable after decades of recovery from historic lows," Stark said.

As of the most recent estimate, Minnesota’s wolf population is sitting at around 2,700. Stark said since the late 1990s, the population has sat somewhere in the range of 2,200-3,000 wolves. The minimum threshold the state tries to maintain is 1,600.

"We’ve further clarified or expanded our population objectives to provide a better understanding of what management directions may take place related to those population levels," Stark said of the new wolf plan.

According to Stark, the DNR also wants to take a more statewide approach to wolf attacks and conflicts between wolves and livestock or pets.

They’ve also involved more stakeholders into the conversation.

"There’s an emphasis on tribal and public perspectives and the roles that that plays in wolf conservation and management," Stark said. "We’re establishing an ongoing technical advisory committee to inform and make recommendations on wolf population monitoring and management and provide feedback on changes that may occur over time."

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, DNR staff will host a webinar on the draft plan and take questions and comments. People are asked to pre-register here.

Thoughts can also be submitted online. The deadline is Aug. 8.

The plan is expected to be complete by the fall.