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Readers React: Mountain lions or people: Who’s the invader in Southern California?

To the editor: While I sympathize with the violent loss of Santa Monica Mountains rancher Natalie Riggs’ two sheep because of a mountain lion attack, the larger “scene of almost incomprehensible violence” is really humanity’s growing insistence that wildlife must be culled for our convenience. (“Is P-22 mountain lion too dangerous for Griffith Park? Koala death sparks debate,” March 11)

Endangered wildlife is in accelerating free fall from every corner of the Earth. It is the responsibility of zoo keepers, ranchers and pet owners to make certain that their animals are safely protected with appropriate enclosures and fencing. We humans, after all, continue to move into what was once wild animal domain. It is we who are the invasive species as we insist on claiming every square inch of Earth’s surface as our own.

Wildlife is part of our natural heritage. We gun it down at our own peril.

Linda Nicholes, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: Mountain lions are ferocious, wild animals. They are not pets. What are we waiting for? Do children have to be killed before we take action?

The Griffith Park mountain lion known as P-22 has apparently killed a koala at the L.A. Zoo. Next up will be more zoo animals, area residents’ pets and possibly even worse.

So far, mountain lions have invaded human habitats and killed livestock and pets. As the article notes, one even tried to kill a child before it was stopped. It may seem fun to have a wild cat roaming in Griffith Park, but it isn’t wise. Spending tax dollars to encourage such animals to live here is an act of stupidity.

Mountain lions should be discouraged from living in close proximity to the city. They should be transported to wilderness far from the Santa Monica Mountains and prevented from coming back.

M.B. Nachman, Venice

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To the editor: Southern California residents have demonstrated a willingness to coexist with wildlife in the incomparably beautiful habitat we share with coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions. Many have gone further, embracing the responsibility to care for our lions by working to eradicate rodenticides and by pledging money and support for what will be the world’s largest wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon.

Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, the National Wildlife Federation’s California director, speaks often of the vanishingly small risks and incalculable rewards of coexisting with wildlife. I was surprised and disappointed that this article, instead of quoting her, included an inflammatory and flatly wrong statement from an official with Gardiner, Montana’s Chamber of Commerce, who said it “always [ends] badly” when people and predators come into contact.

Encounters between humans and predators do not always end badly. Ask those of us who hike the Santa Monica Mountains with reverence and no fear.

Lauren Gill, Newbury Park

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