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By the 1960s, government-sponsored extermination had wiped out nearly all wolves in the Lower 48 states.

Only a small population of gray wolves remained in extreme northeastern Minnesota and on Isle Royale.

The last handful of wild red wolves remained in the U.S. southeast.

After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of both wolf species as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country.

Due to changing state and federal legislation and policies, wolves face continued challenges in the wild.


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The abundance of beaver in Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota may be taking some of the predator pressure off of the park’s moose herd. Research has revealed that that many wolves in the park choose to hunt and eat beaver instead of moose and deer. As a result, the park’s moose numbers have remained stable while populations of moose are declining across nearly all of Minnesota’s moose range.

Learn more about theĀ Voyageurs Wolf Project.

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