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Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / August 21, 2006

Mr. Vesper's recent letter is quite the patchwork of erroneous reasoning and misstatement as he tries to discredit Ms. Tatum while attempting to cover up the errors in Marty Caress' previous letter.

Contrary to Vesper's claim the group which Marty Caress mistakenly called the "Society of Mammalogists" is as Ms. Tatum noted the "American Society of Mammalogists." Is this important? Well, to which group would you rather belong, the Geographic Society (if there is such) or the National Geographic Society? It makes a difference in accuracy and credentials. Caress claimed this group of professional wildlife biologists could not have sent a letter to Murkowski protesting the aerial killing. Not only did they do precisely that but they are sending another similar letter this year and will be posting it on their Web site.

While Caress confined his birth rate claim to Unit 13, his mistake is the same no matter where he applied it. His implication the vastly unpopular aerial killing program has produced this result has no published support from Fish and Game for the simple reason it takes more than a few years to determine what is a causal factor in any population change. We've had mild winters of late. Any biologist will tell you one of the major factors in calf birth rates is winter survival and cow nutrition. If the cows come out of a bad winter with poor nutrition, calf mortality increases regardless of predation. Caress is again simply jumping to conclusions.

Mr. Vesper refers to Mr. Caress' snowmachining experience as though that gives him wildlife credentials. By that reasoning the fact I have been driving up here for over 35 years must mean I am qualified to design and pave highways.

Finally, while Mr. Vesper seems concerned about accuracy and research, he has constantly referred to Paddy Tatum as "Mr." which she most assuredly is not. Mr. Vesper could not take the time to research this little item. Much like his friend Marty Caress, apparently he's not one to let facts hamper his opinions.

Art Greenwalt / Fairbanks

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