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Minnesota Wolf Facts

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Estimated gray wolf population of lower 48 states at adoption of the Endangered Species Act in 1973: 400 or fewer, nearly all in Minnesota. Current estimated population: 4,008. Distribution: 2,445 in Minnesota, 373 in Wisconsin, 360 in Michigan, 29 in Isle Royale National Park, 92 in northwestern Montana, 368 in central Idaho, 301 in and around Yellowstone National Park, 40 in Arizona and New Mexico. Number of Minnesota farms in wolf range, 1979: 12,230. In 1997: 8,000. Average number losing livestock to wolves per year, 1999-2003: 75. Average number of farm dogs lost to wolves per year, 1999-2003: 16.6. Highest rate of cattle loss: 0.83 per 1,000 (1998). Of sheep loss: 13.87 per 1,000 (1990). Average compensation paid to Minnesota farmers for livestock and dogs lost to wolves per year, 1999-2003: $69,621. Total compensation payments in 2002 and 2003, after Legislature raised maximum from $750 per animal to full market value: $78,218 and $53,853. Average number of Minnesota wolves trapped (and usually destroyed) by federal agents to protect livestock per year, 1999-2003: 145.