Press Release: Howling For Wolves responds to MN DNR wolf population estimates: DNR is mixing up ‘wolf recovery’ with ‘keeping wolves barely above the brink of extinction.’

August 22, 2016

CONTACT: Dr. Maureen Hackett, Howling For Wolves, 612.250.5915 or Leslie Rosedahl,, 651.353.1818

Howling For Wolves responds to MN DNR wolf population estimates: DNR is mixing up ‘wolf recovery’ with ‘keeping wolves barely above the brink of extinction.’

(St. Paul, Minn) – Today the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released its 2015-2016 wolf population estimates, reporting 439 wolf packs (2+ wolves equal a pack) and 2,278 wolves from the past winter. These results indicate Minnesota’s wolf population has not yet even recovered since the wolf trophy hunts of 2012-2014. The current population is below the 1998 estimates.

Dr. Maureen Hackett, founder and president of Howling For Wolves, a Minnesota-based wolf advocacy organization, said in response, “The DNR confuses ‘wolf recovery’ with ‘keeping wolves just above the brink of extinction.’ The population levels, still below pre-trophy hunt levels, are drastic, reckless, and unacceptable for responsible wolf recovery and vital genetic diversity.”

“We could lose the iconic gray wolf in Minnesota and, in turn, in the United States. We need to take recovery seriously as we have already decreased the genetic diversity with our drastic hunting ‘culls.’ We see what has happened to wolf packs in Alaska, Michigan’s Isle Royale, and other places as a major warning that we need to put forward increased efforts to let the wolf live by strengthening wolf recovery and preserving Endangered Species Act protections. Wolf policies that focus on killing the wolf, including trophy hunting and the trapping and lethal removal of wolves for suspicion of livestock conflicts, can destroy the entire gray wolf species,” said Hackett.

Minnesota’s estimated wolf population (As reported by the Minnesota DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service):

Currently, Minnesota wolves have federal protection. Yet despite this, the Minnesota DNR continues to keep a wolf hunting and trapping season on the books and ready for activation. They are listed as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. Wolves are killed by government agents when there is livestock predation. This change in status happened December 19, 2014 in a federal court ruling overturning a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to delist the Great Lakes wolf. Minnesota has had three consecutive wolf hunting and trapping seasons – in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Even the Minnesota DNR’s methods have suggested significant decline in wolf packs and population after three years of reckless trophy hunting. Currently, the total Minnesota wolf population trends are the lowest since 1988, with a potentially massive decrease in the genetic diversity needed for their future survivability.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett is available via phone for individual media interviews to highlight:

  • What the new MN DNR wolf population survey numbers show us about the future of Minnesota’s gray wolf,
  • The current federal endangered species status of wolves and ongoing wolf legislation in Washington, D.C.,
  • The future of a potential state-organized wolf hunt in Minnesota.


Howling For Wolves is a Minnesota-based wolf advocacy organization that formed in 2012 to educate the public about the wild wolf to foster tolerance and to ensure the wolf’s long-term survival. Howling For Wolves opposes recreational wolf hunting and trapping and all wildlife snaring. We current support the continuation of federal protections for the wolf by the Endangered Species Act.


August 22, 2016