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Estimated Costs of Maintaining a Recovered Wolf Population in Agricultural Regions of Minnesota

JPG-Photo of wolves crossing Minnesota

by L. David Mech


Gray wolf (Canis lupus) populations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan have increased and expanded their range considerably during the past 2 decades (Fuller et al. 1992, Wydeven et al. 1995, Mich. Dep. Nat. Resour. 1997, Wis. Dep. Nat. Resour. 1998) and are about to meet the recovery criteria of the Eastern Timber Wolf Recovery Plan (hereafter, Recovery Plan; U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. 1992). Consequently, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is developing a state wolf management plan to present to the 1999 State Legislature for approval. The Wisconsin and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources also have developed state plans. When the federal government is assured that the state plans are adequate to ensure wolf population survival in these states at or above recovery levels, it will propose de-listing the wolf from the endangered species list in these 3 states plus an undetermined number of adjacent states, and de-listing will probably occur by 2001 (R. Refsnider, U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., pers. commun.).

As states prepare to manage wolf populations, they must contend with a public that has been conditioned to view the wolf as an endangered animal (Mech 1970, 1995; Van Ballenberghe 1974) and a symbol of the wilderness (Theberge 1975). In addition, the animal rights movement has utilized this attitude to capitalize on public sentiment for the wolf (Mech 1995, Mech et al. 1998).

Concurrently, wolf recovery has resulted in increased wolf depredations on livestock in Minnesota (Fritts 1982, Fritts et al. 1992), and research has documented that, under certain circumstances when wolves begin losing fear of humans, they may be dangerous to people, especially children (Jhala and Sharma 1997; Mech 1998; R. D. Strickland, Algonquin Provincial Park, pers. commun.). Thus, wolf management has developed a sociopolitical dimension that extends beyond the primary biological concerns.

Entire Introduction


This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication 1052):
Mech, L. David.  1999.  Estimated Costs of Maintaining a Recovered Wolf Population 
     in Agricultural Regions of Minnesota.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 26(4):817-822.  
     6 pages.  
This resource should be cited as:
Mech, L. David.  1999.  Estimated Costs of Maintaining a Recovered Wolf Population 
     in Agricultural Regions of Minnesota.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 26(4):817-822.  
     6 pages.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/wpop/index.htm  (Version 16SEP99).

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JPG-Photograph of L. David MechL. David (Dave) Mech is a wildlife research biologist for Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota. He has a B.S. degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. He has studied wolves and their prey and various other carnivores since 1958 and has published extensively about them.

Author's address during this research: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, 8711 37th St. SE, Jamestown, ND 58401-7317, USA. Author's mailing address: North Central Forest Experiment Station, 1992 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.


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