Dear Editor: Europeans began settling Wisconsin in the early 1800s, and at the time as many as 3,000 to 5,000 wolves may have existed in the area. By 1950, less than 50 remained in extreme northern Wisconsin. A decade later, the animals were considered extinct in the state. In 1975, wolves were listed as a state endangered species as they began to recolonize along the Minnesota border. Wolves were not reintroduced into Wisconsin, but moved in on their own. The wolf population in Wisconsin is currently estimated to be around 900 or so. There is an artificially low number — 350 or less — that’s been touted as the “optimal” number of wolves that should be in the state.