A new report indicates the Minnesota Department of Agriculture paid out approximately $135,000 annually to landowners for more than 1,100 livestock and other animals killed by wolves over the last decade.
Livestock officials maintain the number is much higher because wolf kills are difficult to determine.
“When there’s a kill, sometimes there won’t even be blood. They lick the blood right out of the grass, so that’s what makes it so hard,” Mike Landuyt, Minnesota State Cattleman’s Association president, told MinnPost. “There’s no legs or bones or even blood to say there was a calf there in the first place.”
The latest estimate shows Minnesota has a minimum population of 2,655 wolves. Minnesota’s wolf population remains above the state’s minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves and is above the federal recovery goal of 1,251 to 1,400 wolves. Wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin remain under federal protection since a federal judge removed them from state management in late 2014. Current federal regulations prohibit ranchers from killing wolves that attack livestock.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that state agencies, not the federal government, should manage wolves just as they manage elk, bears, deer, mountain lions and other species of animals.
(Photo source: National Park Service)