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Minnesota wolf population drops by 700

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Wildlife managers say Minnesota's wolf population has fallen by about 700 animals over the past five years to around 2,200.

The Department of Natural Resources released the estimates Tuesday from a comprehensive survey conducted over the winter. The survey puts the state's wolf population at 2,211, compared with the 2008 estimate of 2,921 wolves.

DNR officials cite the state's lower population of deer, which are the wolves' main food source, and last season's first hunting and trapping season since the region's wolves came off the endangered species list. Hunters and trappers killed 413 wolves during the season that ended in January.

But the DNR says the wolf population remains well above the state's minimum winter goal of at least 1,600 wolves, and that wolves remain firmly entrenched on Minnesota's landscape.