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Island's Pig Problem: Hunt for Better Solution

September 23, 2002

Re "Hunters to Trap and Shoot Pigs on Santa Cruz Island," Sept. 17: The National Park Service's plan proposes to pay professional hunters $4 million to $5 million to shoot the wild pigs after spending $2 million to erect fences to prevent the pigs from re-inhabiting previously cleared areas. Tens of thousands of hunters purchased tags to hunt wild pigs in California during 2001-02. Many of these hunters pay $300 to $600 to hunt wild pigs with guides on private ranches.

Why doesn't the National Park Service collaborate with the California Department of Fish and Game and offer public wild pig hunting on Santa Cruz Island? A few experienced guides could be hired to scout the island and identify water sources, trails and bedding areas the pigs use. This information could be printed on maps and provided to Californians eager to hunt pigs on Santa Cruz Island.

A fee of $100 and a turnout of 5,000 hunters would not only eradicate wild pigs on Santa Cruz Island but would generate revenues of $500,000. This is in comparison with the $7-million expense entailed in the National Park Service's plan. It is also an alternative that provides 5,000 California hunters an opportunity to hunt one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

David A. Walsh

Manhattan Beach

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Thank you for running the article about the proposed slaughtering of feral pigs. I think this method of solving the problem is deplorable and uncivilized. There are other ways to deal with this environmental difficulty without people "jumping the gun" to wipe out the pigs. I appreciate your newspaper making the public aware of this cop-out that has been proposed in lieu of any real attempt at thinking out a viable and less violent solution.

Ronnie Stark

Lake Balboa

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