St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - State officials say an estimate based on a survey conducted last winter shows Minnesota’s wolf population declined slightly from the previous year, but the difference was statistically insignificant when compared to the previous two years.

The Department of Natural Resources estimates there were 374 wolf packs and 2221 wolves within Minnesota’s wolf range last winter. The estimate from the previous winter was 2423 wolves. The report also notes the size of the wolf packs observed this past winter were slightly larger and the wolf packs now appear to be using larger territories.

The population survey is conducted in mid-winter near the low point of the annual population cycle.

“Results from the 2015 wolf survey demonstrate that the wolf population remains well established across northern and central Minnesota,” said Dan Stark, large carnivore specialist for the DNR.

The state’s minimum management goal is at least 1600 wolves, while the federal recovery goal is between 1251 and 1400 wolves.

For 24/7 news and sports check KROC AM and follow KROC-AM on Facebook