Letters to the Editor: Catalina’s native plants may not be ‘cute and fuzzy,’ but they need protection too

A mule deer fawn is seen near the Descanso Beach Club in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island last October.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I personally consider myself invested in animal welfare. I’m also very concerned about the environment and ecosystem health. Why should these be mutually exclusive? (“Planned deer slaughter on Catalina Island sparks firestorm of protest among residents,” Nov. 5)

Instead of slaughtering the invasive mule deer, can the Catalina Island Conservancy implement a birth control method for these animals so innocent lives can be spared, and so that compassionate animal lovers living on the island feel like they have a say in what happens to the wildlife they care about? Why not provide the deer with a safe, contained space to live out their lives?

You are reading: Letters to the Editor: Catalina’s native plants may not be ‘cute and fuzzy,’ but they need protection too

There is, however, a problem in valuing “cute and fuzzy” invasive animal lives over native plants.

Native plants are important to soil health, insect and pollinating species, and the overall biodiversity of the island. These factors are arguably more important than a group of invasive deer.

The Catalina locals protesting the conservancy’s plan to kill the deer should have a little more nuance and forethought to their argument as to the overall health of the island. I’d encourage them not to forget about the livelihoods of some of the other (less cute and fuzzy) creatures that evolved there.

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Sofia Arreguin, Van Nuys


To the editor: Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes the island (and who is listed as a conservancy donor) is quoted in this article as saying, “The county has no jurisdiction.”

In fact, conservancy lands are held by L.A. County in an open space easement established Feb. 28, 1974. According to the easement, matters concerning it may be referred to the “Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County for determination.” L.A. County’s Department of Parks and Recreation directly oversees the open space easement, and therefore conservancy lands.

The article accurately describes residents’ ire over the conservancy’s secret plan to slaughter deer using sharpshooters from helicopters and other inhumane techniques.

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Through its inexcusable lack of transparency and gross miscalculation of island residents’ resolve to save their deer, this is a firestorm of the conservancy’s own making that can be extinguished only by dowsing its own hubris and listening to its neighbors — the 4,000 residents who embrace the deer as part of their daily experience, and who call Catalina Island their home.

Leslie Baer Dinkel, Avalon

The writer is the former chief of marketing, communications and education at the Catalina Island Conservancy.


To the editor: If the conservancy wants to truly return Catalina to its natural state, it should remove humans from the island.

Carrie Sanders, Ojai

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