Howling For Wolves responds to today’s MN DNR wolf population estimate announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2017
CONTACT: Dr. Maureen Hackett, Howling For Wolves, 612.250.5915
or Leslie Rosedahl,, 651.353.1818

Howling For Wolves responds to today’s MN DNR wolf population estimate announcement

(St. Paul, Minn) – Today the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released its 2016-2017 wolf population estimates, reporting approximately 500 wolf packs and 2,856 wolves from the past winter. These estimates are an increase of 61 wolf packs (where 2+ wolves are a pack) and 578 wolves.

Dr. Maureen Hackett, founder and president of Howling For Wolves, a Minnesota-based wolf advocacy organization, responds:

“This is encouraging news for an endangered, vulnerable, and valued species in Minnesota. Although our gray wolf population estimate is still below the level of ten years ago and before three years of wolf trophy hunting, we’re moving in the right direction. Let’s keep it going and work on positive, proactive strategies for communities and farmers to support our vulnerable and valued wolf population.

Governor Dayton and our state’s DNR leadership should support continued Endangered Species Act protections for the wolf, promote nonlethal preventative methods for farmers for wolf-livestock conflicts, and provide further education for communities instead of preparing for a reckless wolf trophy hunt. A trophy hunt is unacceptable for responsible wolf recovery, jeopardizes vital wolf genetic diversity, and risks potential extinction of an entire species.

Unfortunately, the DNR does not actual count our wolf population, and we know nothing about the genetic diversity of the only wolf population that never went extinct in the lower 48 states. The numbers the DNR announced are based almost entirely on a sub-set of collared wolves, and makes unsophisticated assumptions and presumes wolf population based on former estimates of available habitat with no hard evidence of wolf existence in that habitat. This non-science isn’t a strong, reliable count and is a disservice to a species vulnerable to human-caused deaths.”

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


This change in status occurred on 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 had three consecutive wolf hunting and trapping seasons – in 2012, 2013, and 2014. 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:

  • Newly available re-imbursement for farmers working to prevent wolf-livestock conflicts
  • What the new MN DNR wolf population estimate 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 potential of a future 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 currently support the continuation of federal protections for the wolf by the Endangered Species Act.

September 25, 2017