Director Charlton H. Bonham
California Department of Fish & Wildlife
1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
California Fish & Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1320
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Director Bonham/ Commissioners:
As a supporter of WildCare and a person who cares about wildlife in California, I am writing to strongly oppose the planned "Coyote Drive 2013" hunting contest in Modoc County on February 8 - 10 of this year.
A contest or tournament such as this one that promotes the wanton slaughter of wild animals is not only ethically indefensible and ecologically reckless, it contravenes new legislation (AB 2402) that Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law requiring the Fish & Game Commission to use “ecosystem based management” and the best available science in the stewardship of California's wildlife.
The information provided for participants in the "Coyote Drive 2013" says that "the intent of this event is to manage coyote populations in the Big Valley area." The literature goes on to say "Although no geographic boundaries have been made, it is our hope that this goal can be reached."
Wholesale slaughter of a top predator over an area with "no geographical barriers" cannot be considered "ecosystem based management" and most certainly does not utilize the best available science. A vital part of all ecosystems is its top predators. Annihilating top predators leads to an explosion of prey species like rodents, which leads to degredation of grassland, which leads to erosion—the cycle continues its downward spiral.
I urge you to stop this contest, and all others like it, and to reassess the state's approach to managing wildlife predators. The Department should review current scientific literature and proven practices that yield optimal outcomes for wildlife, other animals and people, and make informed decisions concerning predator managment. "Ecosystem based management" takes into account the vital relationships between predator and prey species. Encouraging hunters to destroy coyotes by the dozens upsets this balance.
Please do everything in your power to stop this coyote hunting contest and use this as an opportunity to move California toward more responsible and ethical wildlife management.
Thank you for taking my concerns into consideration.