Wisconsin' s Gray Wolf Population Continues To Grow

State wildlife officials estimate that Wisconsin's gray wolf population has grown 14 percent from a year ago.

The Department of Natural Resources says the population is nearing 455 wolves -- nearly 100 above its management goals.

Wolf management coordinator Adrian Wydeven says that's both good and bad news. He says some wolf packs may be spreading into areas where they're causing more problems.

Last year, wolves killed livestock on 22 farms, compared with 14 farms in 2003 and eight in 2002. The D-N-R says last year, 24 problem wolves were legally killed, compared with 17 in 2003. The agency has permits to kill up to 34 this year.

The wolf is a native species that was wiped out in Wisconsin by the late 1950s, after decades of bounty hunting.

Since the animal was granted protection as an endangered species during the mid-1970s, wolves migrated into the state from Minnesota and their numbers have been growing ever since.