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State Is Wrong to Foster Fear of Mountain Lions

October 05, 2003

Re "After Scare, Mountain Lion Sought," Sept. 27:

Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have become a nation unduly influenced by fear. This attitude has been fostered by our government officials -- at all levels. The recent shooting of a mountain lion is unsettling because it plays on misrepresented levels of risk and because it fosters a callous attitude toward our ecosystem.

An official with the California Department of Fish and Game said "residents are urged to stay inside or travel in groups."

I have been hiking alone for over two decades, often in remote areas. It is spiritual therapy for me. I come across fresh mountain lion tracks and scat relatively frequently. I have yet to see a mountain lion at a distance of less than a quarter mile.

I understand that a rogue mountain lion may present an increased danger to humans, but let's put this danger in the proper perspective. A child is far more likely to ingest a toxin (from within the home), to be injured playing sports, to be killed in an automobile accident, or to be assaulted by somebody he or she knows. Maybe we should never leave the house. Maybe we should never enjoy the outdoors.

Then we could disconnect ourselves from nature to an even greater degree than we already have, and we could all feel much better about the depredation of large carnivores.

J.B. Litvak

Costa Mesa

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