VIRGINA (AP) - The gray wolf population has increased slightly in the Western Great Lakes District, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

That comes even as two of the three states have recently begun allowing wolf hunts. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report shows the wolf population throughout the three states has grown from 3,678 to 3,719 in the past year.

The founder of the International Wolf Center in Ely says this is great news for continued wolf recovery efforts in the Upper Midwest. He says the data indicates state wolf-management policies are working well.

Wolf Center officials say wolves are expanding their range outside of the states in which they were initially found.

The Department of Natural Resources estimates a population of 2,423 wolves in Minnesota as of last winter.