This letter refers to the article on trapping by Keith Kubista (March 26). His argument that predation is causing the decline of other wildlife species is questionable — most declines of wild species are caused by loss or fragmentation of habitats caused by various activities of humans. Prey species have evolved with their predators and survived pretty well until modern man came on the scene.
The prey animals that he mentions (deer, moose and antelope) are certainly not on any endangered lists, and predation by natural predators is not a main cause of concern. Their biggest predators are probably sport and meat hunters. For sage grouse (which Kubista also mentioned), predation is nowhere near the top of the list of reasons for their 40 percent declines in the last 40 to 50 years in the western states. His argument for justifying the trapping of predators is not valid as far as the above species are concerned.
Predators will have relatively greater impacts as their prey populations decline. Under such circumstances, it may be valid to carry out some specific predator control — but this will not help recover prey populations unless habitat rehabilitation and protection is done. I do not believe that all trappers are altruistically inclined, as Kubista indicates. My opinion is that profit and personal pleasure (honest reasons, with which I have no problem) are the main reasons for the private-sector trapping. I might add that I have absolutely no quarrel with legal, controlled predator trapping.