For what it is worth, here is the letter I just sent to the people Ron listed in the comments of my previous Kofa post. The address for Tom Harvey isn’t correct (or he no longer works there) so skip him until you get an update from me or Ron!
I am writing to request that the AGFD Bighorn Sheep 4-17-07 recommendations be halted until there is public review and comments on the agencies’ recommendations.
Recent decisions, such as the construction of the big game guzzlers on sensitive refuge land and the killing of the Mountain Lion, as well as the secrecy in which these actions have been carried out without opportunity for public comment call into question the ethics of the entire group of Kofa managers.
A basic, if tricky to model, biological concept is the fact that predator-prey populations are linked in such a way that the predator does not hunt a species into extinction. Unless the predator is human.
When the predator (by choice, not necessity) is human an entire new set of rules applies, and ethics as well. Humans do not need to eat meat to survive, let alone hunt. Mountain Lions, as obligate carnivores, need to eat meat, and given that there’s no Mountain Lion drive-through for them to get their dinner, they are required to hunt for their very survival.
The human-imposed rules on the Mountain Lions living in the Kofa NWR, such as a Mountain Lion being allowed to prey on only two bighorn sheep in a six month period on pain of death, is absurd and unethical. That is compounded by the hypocrisy behind the decision – kill the Mountain Lions, which are being tracked via radio collar making their death easy to ensure by the hunters, in order that the hunters may kill the same sheep for sport which the Mountain Lions are not allowed to kill for their survival. The hunting permits should be abolished, permanently, and the Mountain Lions allowed to live without interference.
The Kofa NWR appears to have been acting and making decisions purely for the benefit of the extremely small population of hunters. Meanwhile the original guidelines for the Wildlife Reserve prohibited hunting. The reserve should be for the benefit of the wildlife that live there, with humans allowed only limited access, in areas where they will not disturb sensitive ecosystems and the native population in sensitive times. Hunting should be made illegal.
There is simply no justification for the hunting permits. Not from an ethical or scientific standpoint. Furthermore, the National Wildlife Refuges are not private lands of the hunters. Their desire for blood sport should not take precedence.
I urge you to reconsider and reevaluate recent decisions, to stop all hunting, and to allow public review and comments.
I hope that if enough of us write, we really will make a difference. They are presumably answerable to us, the taxpayers, after all. But even if you are not a US Citizen, please do write. After all, tourism is money, and money is king.
I also wrote a quick note to the two reporters who covered the issue recently, thanking them for their attention to this issue. Expressing our appreciation to the reporters who are covering animal issues is one way to help ensure they will continue to do so. And we need all the help we can get.
Please, if you have a few minutes, write to the Kofa and AGFD managers whose email addresses Ron provided earlier. Even if it is as short as simply requesting that the 4-17-07 AGFD Bighorn Sheep recommendations be halted and a chance for public review be allowed, it would help.