Letters to the Editor

Sea lions hurt by human factor

A volunteer watches as a sea lion takes its final steps toward the Pacific Ocean in November 2014.
A volunteer watches as a sea lion takes its final steps toward the Pacific Ocean in November 2014. sprovost@thetribunenews.com

In his Jan. 4 letter, Melvin De La Motte (“Let Natural Selection Work on Sea Lions”) urged us not to rescue sick sea lions, but to let nature take its course. What he failed to consider was the human factor.

What responsibility do we humans take when we are the root cause of a problem? Contrary to Mr. De La Motte’s assertion, there is evidence that demoic acid poisoning may be caused by human activity. It’s not the only reason marine mammals are rescued. Obviously, Mr. De La Motte has never encountered a marine mammal whose neck is being constricted by a fishing line, wrapped in plastic, suffering from a gunshot wound or whose jaw has been blown off by an explosive planted by a fisherman. True, sea lions are not an endangered species as yet, but recent rescues have been of fur seals, and they are endangered.

Without human intervention, the sea otter would have disappeared from the California coast. The African elephant, the rhinoceros, the orangutan, the mountain gorilla and the Bengal tiger may soon be extinct because of poaching and deforestation without human intervention. Unfortunately, the preservation of nature has, by necessity, fallen into human hands.

Tom Bauer, Morro Bay

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