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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Encroaching on Nature Brings Out the Beast

June 11, 2004

Re a Simi Valley child mauled by a coyote, June 8: I have two young children and feel the fear that the parents must have felt when a coyote attacked their kids. However, people need to take heed where they decide to live. You buy a house in the desert, it's going to be hot. Buy a house in an area like Simi Valley and you are going to interact with coyotes and other critters that humanity has pushed to the brink. Department of Fish and Game numbers showed that 80% of the 89 coyote attacks in California over the last 20-plus years had occurred in the last decade.

The real story here is that our natural environment is reacting to our sprawling development. Though the child is the victim, so are the animals whose habitat we are quickly destroying.

Chuck Arnold

Los Angeles

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Re "Puma Expert to Assess Situation in Griffith Park," June 7: Walter Boyce, the director of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, overlooks a major parameter regarding human/cougar sightings. Humans are increasing in numbers and invading cougar space at a far faster rate than vice versa. New suburbs and summer homes diminish wild areas and leave the cats little choice. As a lookout fireman for five summers in Oregon in the '50s, I found that the cougars near my tower were content to hunt deer and stay shy.

John Kolars

San Luis Obispo

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