UMATILLA, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has authorized the killing of two wolves from a pack in northeastern Oregon.

The agency said Thursday in a statement that wolves have killed four calves from a local ranch.

The rancher requested permission to eradicate the entire wolf pack, but the agency will only allow two adults to be killed. The action will not lead to the deaths of any pups.

Environmental activists are angered by the decision and say it's unnecessary.

The wolf population in Oregon is expanding in size and range and that has created conflict with ranchers.

The agency has also killed three wolves from another pack in nearby Wallowa County. State officials previously said they've documented wolf attacks on seven cattle in the past 13 months, including three cattle kills.

ODFW Curt Melcher says he is authorizing the killing of as few wolves as possible.

Oregon removed wolves from the state's Endangered Species list in 2015, but the animals remain on the federal list and are protected in western Oregon. In northeast Oregon, the animals are managed under the state’s wolf plan.

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