To the Editor:
Richard’s call for the rewilding of Arkansas reveals more of what he does not know than what he does. He rhetorically asks “What is wrong with elk being… (in South Arkansas).” The answer is simple, CWD. CWD is prevalent in our Elk in Arkansas and we do not want it in South Arkansas. Then he moves on the alligators and beavers. There are lots of alligators in the Grassy Lake/Yellow Creek/Little River area in southwest Arkansas where I spend a lot of time in the woods and on the water. They do not control beavers there any more than they do any other place. Stocking them in Arkansas just means we have more alligators. And yes, we still have lots or big gators. I see them regularly and the really big ones taken in recent years are from southwest Arkansas.
As to his solution for hog numbers being bears, that is just plain silly. Given the relative reproductive rate for hogs and bears (even if hogs were a large portion of the bear diet which they are not) bears could not put a dent in hog numbers.
Finally, garbage can bears would surely increase with numbers, and elk are extremely destructive of fences and will decimate food supplies now used by cattle.
Rewilding is an attractive concept, but in practice it can be harmful and destructive to habitat. Interrelations with humans are a problem. Be careful what you wish for.
Emon A. Mahony Jr