Federal trappers lack funding to deal with Minnesota wolves

Gray wolves

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Federal trappers are struggling to keep up with Minnesota’s growing wolf population.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that only United States Department of Agriculture trappers can kill wolves because of a 2014 federal ruling that put them on the endangered species list.

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources survey found the state’s wolf population has increased about 25 percent since last year. There are about 500 packs and more than 2,800 wolves in the northern part of the state. The state’s minimum goal was to reach 1,600 wolves.

Cattle rancher Chuck Becker says wolves have attacked dozens of his cattle over the last 20 years.

USDA regional wildlife specialist John Hart says trappers had to briefly stop work this year until emergency funds could be secured. The department receives about $220,000 annually to trap about 200 wolves.