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KETCHUM, Idaho -- A U.S. Wildlife Services official says his agency has the authority to kill three wolves following continued attacks on domestic sheep on a ranch near Carey in south-central Idaho.

George Graves is assistant state director for the Idaho division of U.S. Wildlife Services. He says an agency pilot spotted six dead sheep from the air Monday and two more on Tuesday.

However, the Idaho Mountain Express reports the kill order was issued last Wednesday, likely after several sheep were killed on the Flat Top Ranch on May 28.

Authorities believe only three or four adult wolves remain in the Little Wood pack.

Ranch owner John Peavey says his ranch has lost 34 sheep to wolves this year, for more than at this time a year ago.

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