Re "Agency cancels hunting clinic (Page A1, Jan. 26): The article should have mentioned some conservation benefits of predator control. For example, removal of arctic foxes that preyed on nesting waterfowl in Alaska is credited with saving the Aleutian goose, which overwinters in California, from near extinction. Its numbers rebounded from 790 birds in 1975 to more than 120,000 today. Predator control is necessary where natural systems no longer function according to historical conditions, such as California's Central Valley. Prior to the construction of dams, levees and bypasses, large-scale flooding kept skunk, raccoon and other predatory species of ground-nesting birds in check. With flooding now curtailed and limited habitat remaining, predator control must remain an important tool for conserving native birds. The Department of Fish and Wildlife's name has changed to reflect its broad conservation mission, but that doesn't mean the department has any less of an obligation to actively manage wildlife populations.
-- Mark Hennelly, vice president of legislative affairs and public policy, California Waterfowl, Roseville