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Hunters, Not Lions, Are Out of Control

I read with astonishment the opinion-page article "California Lion-Protection Law Ought to be Caged," Aug. 7.

The lack of accuracy and foolish accusations would be funny only if the gun groups sponsoring this legislation to trophy-hunt mountain lions were not ignoring real public safety measures in their zeal to promote more wildlife slaughter.

The author claims that until voters banned trophy-hunting (in 1990, not 1991), the California Department of Fish and Game successfully "managed" the lion population through the issuance of hunting licenses.

In fact, trophy-hunting of lions was banned by the state legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1971. The author cites unsubstantiated figures to "prove" that the lion population has "exploded." Scientific field studies indicate lion populations have remained fairly stable in California over the past 20 years.

Mark J. Palmer

Sacramento, Calif.

Executive Director

Mountain Lion Foundation

I'm a regular hiker in lion habitat. The Mountain Lion Protection Act allows Fish and Game authorities to track and destroy any lion involved in an attack, fatal or not. No new law is needed here.

Attacks, even sightings, are extremely rare. There's a greater chance of being struck by lightning or a car. Further, lion warnings are posted at parks and trails, and there are wise responses one can perform if a lion is sighted: stay put and make oneself as noisy and "large" as possible. Finally, the loss of deer and pets lamented by the author is skewed: Lions are natural predators keeping deer populations in balance.

Leave the act alone, and don't buy the hunters' propaganda.

Joanne Hedge

Hollywood, Calif.

Right place, wrong century

Regarding the front-page article "New Ways to Protect Old Sites," July 12: The author writes that the tomb of Nefertari is in the Valley of the Queens near Luxor in Egypt, which is true. However, he states that she sat beside King Akhenaton as queen of Egypt. Perhaps he was confusing Nefertari with Nefertiti, or Akhenaton with Ramses II.

Nefertiti was the wife of the "heretic" Pharaoh Akhenaton, and their graves have never been found. Nefertari was chief queen during the reign of Ramses II, roughly a century after Akhenaton. Since the reign of Ramses ended about 1224 BC, the author's statement of "some 3,600 years ago" was off by a few centuries.

Peter Yff

Muncie, Ind.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to "Readers Write" and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM

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