Saving uniqueness

 

As the principal author of the successful petition to list the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep as threatened in 1999, I read your article “The Cost of a Comeback” with great interest (HCN, 5/29/17). The listing gave state and federal authorities the tools they needed to address the two major threats to the sheep’s survival — domestic sheep grazing and predation by mountain lions — and today this icon of the Sierra no longer teeters on the brink of extinction. Even so, as your article makes clear, a single event, like this past winter’s weather or the loss of 12 animals to mountain lion predation, can wipe out the gains that have been made over the past 18 years. Yes, loss of lions has been part of the cost, but mountain lions range throughout the Western Hemisphere, while Sierra Nevada bighorn are found only in the Sierra Nevada. We will all be the losers if we fail to ensure their recovery.

Johanna Wald
San Francisco, California