The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife killed two wolf pups from a helicopter Sunday following “chronic” cattle depredation in eastern Oregon. “We want to see the pack persist and endure in this area, but we have a responsibility to address this chronic depredation,” Oregon Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Michelle Dennehy told SFGATE. Dennehy said the Lookout Mountain wolf pack killed four cows and injured one calf in a 14-day period in July, which qualifies as chronic depredation. On July 29, Fish and Wildlife approved a kill permit that enabled the livestock producer to kill up to four un-collared wolves within a designated area. Under Oregon’s Wolf Plan rules, a kill permit can only be issued if the livestock producer first uses and documents non-lethal methods “appropriate to the situation,” the press release said. In addition, there cannot be “identified circumstances,” including bone piles and carcasses, which attract wolves, on the property. Dennehy said efforts were made to find the wolves on Friday, but only collared wolves were seen. On Sunday, Fish and Wildlife went up in a helicopter and spotted uncollared pups, two of which were killed. Fish and Wildlife estimates the pups were about three-and-a-half months old. The pups were singled out in an effort to “reduce the food needs of the pack,” Dennehy said. The fewer the pups to feed, the fewer cattle killed, the logic goes. The killing is also an effort to change pack behavior. “We’re trying to get them to see that this is not something they want to be doing,” Dennehy said. “We totally get that it’s upsetting that pups are getting killed,” Dennehy added. “But I hope the public understands that we set this up in this way to allow the pack to endure and persist.” In April, Oregon announced it had at least 173 wolves in the state, a 9.5% increase over the last year. A total of 22 packs (of four or more wolves) were documented in the count, 17 of which reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups that survived through December 2020. Seven groups of two to three wolves were also documented. In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed gray wolves in the lower 48 states from the Endangered Species List, turning management over to state fish and wildlife agencies.