Saturday, March 18, 2006

North Dakota has few gray wolves, biologist says

FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota has fewer than a dozen gray wolves at any one time, most of them young males that stray in from Minnesota, a federal biologist says, .

Bill Bicknell, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the wolves generally don't stay in the state.

The Bush administration has proposed removing gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list, saying their numbers have grown to the point that federal protection is no longer needed. North Dakota is included in the proposal because it is close to Minnesota and is considered a place where the animals might expand their territory.

Under the federal proposal, "they would be managed by the state of North Dakota as a fur-bearer," Bicknell said. "My current understanding is that the season on them would be closed."

Wolves tend to draw extreme reactions from people, Bicknell said.

"You get viewpoints from both sides of the spectrum - people that are adamant that we must protect wolves, every last one of them, and on the other side we get people that view them as a real threat and the only good wolf is a dead wolf. It's a polarized issue," he said.

  • Grand Forks Herald

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