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Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) recolonization failure: a Minnesota case study

L. David Mech, Forest Isbell, Jim Krueger, John Hart


During the past few decades, Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) have recolonized many areas in the United States and Europe. In many other cases, however, although dispersing wolves reached areas with adequate prey, a population failed to recolonize. Herein, we provide a case study detailing how a wolf pack attempted for three years to recolonize an area 55 km from a long-established population and within 25 km of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, but failed. The pack produced three litters of pups and at one time included 11–19 members, but it preyed on livestock and dogs and, consequently, was lethally removed. The history of this pack’s attempt to recolonize an area long devoid of wolves exemplifies the issues that have prevented earlier recolonizations in non-wild lands in Minnesota and elsewhere and that promise to do so well into the future.


Canis lupus; depredation; distribution; Gray Wolf; livestock; recolonization

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