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Renewed Interest in Hunting Cougars

May 11, 1986

The recent tragedy of the unprovoked mountain lion attack on a Mission Viejo girl at Caspers Regional Park in south Orange County has resulted in an overreaction by many which could threaten the survival of the cougars remaining in California.

Certainly, the grief of the victim's family is shared by everyone who heard about the incident. However, since the attack there has been a movement by many to remove the protected status of the mountain lion and once again make this rare animal the target of professional bounty hunters and others who would eradicate them under the name of "sport."

It is ludicrous to condemn the species because of one isolated, freak incident in nearly a century.

Wildlife experts agree that mountain lions fear human contact probably more than humans fear them. That is why the big cats avoid people whenever possible and are rarely seen.

To overturn the long-standing ban on killing mountain lions in California now would be as tragic and ridiculous as outlawing the use of all automobiles on California highways in the future because of traffic fatalities of the past.

Life is a series of risks. In our society we must all carefully weigh the benefits against the risks for our everyday and our major decisions. Americans continue to drive their cars to work, ride in airplanes for business and pleasure, and engage in even riskier activities--because the benefits expected are worth the slight chance of disaster.

Let's not condemn the remaining California cougars for the isolated actions of a single animal--which has already paid the price for his actions. The benefit in this case is the preservation of the species, and it's worth the risk.


Dana Point

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