Coyotes have been in Maine since the 1940s. They are now as much a part of Maine’s ecology as are deer, moose and lobster.

The wisdom of nature placed coyotes here to fill the void created by the brutal and mistaken removal of wolves from Maine a century ago.

Top predators are vital for the proper functioning and health of every ecosystem. The removal of wolves as Maine’s top predator simply opened the door to coyotes to enter and fill the void.

Nature has a way of taking care of what the ecology needs. More Mainers are learning to respect the wisdom of nature. A growing majority of Mainers and Americans wants to see our wildlife and wild places respected and protected, not scapegoated and abused.

I was deeply disappointed to read Deirdre Fleming’s Sunday Telegram article on rebuilding Maine’s deer herd (“Drive to rebuild Maine’s deer herd takes some surprising turns,” April 17), which played into the current demonization campaign unfairly pinning the blame on coyotes for the decline of Maine’s deer population in the northern and western parts of the state.

Many knowledgeable, fair-minded and honest Mainers place “blame” for the deer’s decline on Maine’s recent string of cold, snowy winters and on the loss of vital deer habitat by human-caused destruction, including clear cutting. Coyotes are simply not to blame for the reality of this decline.

The fact that there are both numerous deer and numerous coyotes in southern Maine and the midcoast, reveals the dishonesty of scapegoating coyotes, instead of facing the facts: The deer population decline in the north has been caused mainly by the weather and human behavior.

It’s time to respect and honor Maine’s wildlife, including coyotes. It’s time to respect the wisdom of nature.

Robert Goldman

South Portland

 

When looking at ways to increase the deer herd, eradicating coyotes is not one of them. Experience has proven that bounties and merciless large-scale efforts to kill off coyotes are ineffective. One hundred years of that razing mentality only resulted in coyotes expanding their range.

Research suggests that when aggressively controlled, coyotes can increase their reproductive rate by breeding at an earlier age, having larger litters, and maintaining a higher survival rate among the young. This allows coyote populations to quickly bounce back from killing.

One study even found that killing 75 percent of a coyote population every year for 50 years would not exterminate a targeted population. Consequently, wildlife managers have increasingly abandoned bounties and nonselective killing programs.

Instead of learning from science and history, recently our conversation here in Maine has narrowed making coyotes a scapegoat for complex ecological challenges. Killing coyotes will only answer to a small, but vocal, minority that would rather see stacked, dead coyotes take the place of a meaningful solution.

Katie Lisnik

Maine state director

The Humane Society of the United States

Portland

 

Why is teacher union rep paid from taxpayers’ funds?

 

I can’t believe that local taxpayers are paying most of the salary for a teachers’ union representative (“Councilors pay attention to union president’s pay,” April 26). It just shows how much the unions are affecting government — that they can tell us that we have to pay their people to represent them to cut a deal.

The excuse is that the union gave concessions that saved the city millions. Well, why not save the city $75,000 more and pay for their own union rep? It’s a conflict of interest and just tastes bad. If we can’t do better here, I hope state government can do better to rein in these unions.

Go, LePage.

Mark Barriault

Portland

 

Public worker pension cuts break long-standing promise

 

Some politicians are trying to sell the proposed $524 million in cuts to the Maine public employee pension plan as reasonable. The truth is these cuts would diminish the retirement security for generations of workers and retired workers who have spent years providing quality services to the people of Maine.

I have worked for the Maine judicial branch for almost 33 years. I took a 20 percent cut in pay to work for the state, but there were promises of a real future in public service and a reasonable degree of retirement security. The average pension through the state retirement system is about $19,000 a year. That is not a lot to live on, especially considering that most workers in the state system are not eligible to collect Social Security.

My husband is a retired firefighter and has spent years as an adjunct professor educating future firefighters. We had both hoped to fully retire in a couple of years.

But with state legislators now being asked to break the state’s promise to public workers, our retirement planning is now up in the air. We have cut back on our spending and future plans because of the uncertainty.

My husband and I continue to keep our promises by working hard for the people of Maine. That’s what we’ve always done and it’s the right thing to do. It’s astounding to think that in return for the decades of dedication by Maine’s public workers, teachers and retired workers, that the state of Maine would suddenly break its promise to them.

Please tell your state legislators to deal fairly and reasonably with those who have dedicated decades to educating our children and providing quality public services.

Penny Whitney-Asdourian

Scarborough

 

Pit bulls’ bad reputation ignores their kind nature

 

Regarding the article, “Pit bull supporters: Give beasts a chance,” I think people are really mean to pit bulls. They’re really kind and friendly, but some people don’t treat them right. Their reputation is downhill and it’s really unfair.

I think people should change the pit bulls’ reputation back to really kind, loving dogs. A lot of people are mistreating them, and that is why we need help changing their reputation.

And I strongly think that more people should help pit bulls by not only changing their reputation, but to volunteer in the shelter while their reputation should be getting changed.

Jamie Ho

Reiche School, 5th grade

Portland