- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

VIRGINA, Minn. (AP) - The gray wolf population has increased slightly in the Western Great Lakes District - Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan - even as two of the three states have begun allowing wolf hunts.

A recent report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows the wolf population throughout the three states has grown from 3,678 to 3,719 in the past year. This is good news for continued wolf recovery efforts in the Upper Midwest, L. David Mech, founder and vice chairman of the International Wolf Center told the Mesabi Daily News (https://bit.ly/1Fwv1QK ). The data indicates state wolf-management policies are working well, he said.

Gray wolves are expanding their range outside of the states in which they were initially found, according to officials at the Ely-based Wolf Center. At least one wolf made it from Minnesota to eastern North Dakota, and a Wisconsin wolf was found dead in Illinois, they said.

The wolf populations in all three states are in good shape, based on criteria used to determine if they are in trouble. The Department of Natural Resources estimates a population of 2,423 wolves in Minnesota as of last winter.

Minnesota wolf hunts run from Nov. 8-23 and Nov. 29-Jan. 31, 2015. The DNR is allowing the killing of 250 wolves, 30 more than last year.

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Information from: Mesabi Daily News, https://www.virginiamn.com

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