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Pack of experts agree to disagree at International Wolf Symposium

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The International Wolf Symposium wraps up Sunday in Duluth with a pack of scientists, hunters and conservationists from 19 countries comparing what they know about Minnesota's once-endangered species.

A Saturday session called "Working Toward Consensus," was really a heated debate about hunting and trapping seasons, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Conservationists called hunting "gratuitous killing for pleasure."

“The de-listing (of gray wolves) that occurred in 2012 was driven by politics,” said Howard Goldman, the Minnesota director of the Humane Society of the United States. “It wasn't driven by science.”

A wildlife biologist from Montana who said he's "straddling the issue all the time," noted that both sides of the Minnesota debate seemed to love wolves and want them to thrive.

“In my area a lot of hunters are motivated simply by their hatred for wolves,” said Nathan Varley. Varley grew up in a hunting culture, but now takes tourists to see wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

The Duluth News Tribune also reported on a simultaneous rally to protest the second year of wolf hunting and trapping, which begins Nov. 9 in Minnesota. The rally, sponsored by the Northwoods Wolf Alliance, took place outside the Duluth Civic Center.

After a DNR survey revealed a declining wolf population, the state issued only 3,300 hunting permits this year, down from 6,000 a year ago.

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