The state of Minnesota is taking steps to keep its gray wolf population safe, and released a draft updated plan to do so on Thursday.

Gray wolves have been thriving in Minnesota despite being re-enlisted to the Endangered Species Act this year. Strong conservation efforts from wildlife managers are being credited by the state for the population, which is estimated to be about half of a 6,000-strong population throughout the contiguous United States. The state is hopeful it can maintain a population of 2,220-3,000 total wolves.

“Wolf conservation is a high priority for the DNR and we expect this updated plan to help ensure Minnesota’s wolf population remains healthy,” Kelly Straka, the agency’s wildlife section manager, said in a statement.

The updated draft plan “is designed to protect wolves and monitor their population while giving owners of livestock and domestic pets more protection from wolf depredation. It splits the state into two management zones with more protective regulations in the northern third, considered the wolf’s core range."

The Gray wolf population has been threatened over the years due to being seen as a danger and killed as a result. This led to them being added to the Endangered Species Act from 1974-2020.

The Trump administration removed gray wolves from the endangered species list as they had reached “least concern status” because their population was increasing. However, because they were no longer federally protected, they were once again seen as a threat and highly hunted in some areas. This caused many advocates to encourage the Biden administration to re-enlist gray wolves to endangered status.

On Feb. 10, gray wolves were once again ordered to be protected again by the Endangered Species Act.