Wolves symposium draws opposing views to Duluth

Published 10:11 am Friday, October 11, 2013

DULUTH — Wolf experts from 19 nations will meet in Duluth for a major symposium this weekend focused on the future of the animal and its interactions with people.

The International Wolf Center global event, which is the first since 2005, will feature wolf advocates, researchers and wildlife managers who represent opposing viewpoints on how humans should treat wolves, the Wolf Center’s Nancy Gibson said. A debate on hunting, trapping and wolf protection is set for Saturday.

“Global interest in wolves, both wolf research and just a general public interest, just seems to be growing,” said Gibson, a wolf center co-founder and board member.

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Wolves face many issues throughout the world. Their prey and habitat is under threat in places such as Russia. Farmers are pressing for more wolf killing in France. And closer to home, wolf hunts have been held in Minnesota and Wisconsin and soon will be Michigan.

Minnesota has an estimated 2,200 wolves, which is down from nearly 3,000 a decade ago. Wisconsin has about 800 wolves and Michigan about 500.

Gibson said wolves seem doomed to a constant state of conflict with people.

“With the human population ever increasing, and more people living where wolves live, wolves will usually come out on the short among these two species that historically haven’t gotten along very well,” she said.