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Letters: Illinois bobcat hunting is shameful step backward

A stuffed bobcat lets visitors get an up-close look on July 22 at what the animal would like in a defensive posture at the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center in Springfield. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP)

The upcoming bobcat hunting and trapping season is a shameful step backward in protecting these magnificent animals (“Bobcat rules set: A modern first in Illinois outdoors,” Aug. 3). Last year, the Sun-Times editorialized not once, but twice, against the bobcat hunt — first, urging the Legislature to vote down the proposed season, and then urging Gov. Rauner to veto it — and for good reason.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources doesn’t even know how many bobcats there are in the state, and the only study was done in the southernmost portion of Illinois, yet bobcats as far north as Rockford can be killed. Despite being protected for the last 40 years, recovery has been slow, and bobcats continue to face ongoing threats, including loss of habitat.

This season allows bobcats to be hunted and trapped using the same methods that led to their demise in the first place, including painful steel-jawed leghold traps and hounding, in which hunters use dogs to chase a terrified bobcat up a tree and then shoot the animal.

Bobcats should be conserved to protect their vital role in the ecosystem, not so that someone can shoot one to make a few bucks off of their pelt.

Marc Ayers, Illinois state director

The Humane Society of the United States

Build third airport

The Southland is booming. Will County is booming. The South Side has a new National Park and soon the Obama Presidential Library. And while the Southland is America’s crossroads, Illinois has been losing air passenger and cargo market share for years due to capacity constraints. Why?

New York, Washington and San Francisco each have three major airports. Los Angeles has five. Chicago has two. The time to build the South Suburban Airport is now.

In recent years, Chicago has spent more than $10 billion at O’Hare. Not to add capacity, but to reduce delays. Compare that to the proposed South Suburban Airport. For well under $1 billion, the inaugural airfield could handle well over 100,000 new flights a year – bringing new aviation capacity and economic prosperity to Illinois.

To be clear, Chicago must upgrade and improve O’Hare and Midway. But Illinois must also invest in the future – expand our infrastructure, feed our economy, improve our global profile.

The third airport idea isn’t new. The Federal Aviation Administration first called for it in 1985. It’s been endorsed by then-Senator Barack Obama, a string of governors (both parties), most local elected officials (both parties), as well as local and national media. The New York Times once called it “a no-brainer.”

Illinois’ Department of Transportation and FAA are now finalizing a master plan; the state owns most of the site; local communities support it; the private sector will fund it; and the air carriers need it.

So what are we waiting for? At O’Hare, $12 billion buys some time. In the Southland, $1 billion buys a new future.

Robin Kelly, U.S. representative,

2nd Congressonal District

Inspiring sight

What an inspiring sight as the nations of the world marched into the stadium in Rio. The young athletes proudly paraded under their banners and flags. Seeing all the nations on this planet assembled in one place in a peaceful setting was awesome.

As young people, they are our future and the hope of the world. Hopefully they will leave the games after intense competition, with an appreciation of the common humanity they share with others from far away lands who may look different and speak a different language.

They represent their respective countries with pride and will leave the games with unforgettable memories and most importantly will have forged new and lasting friendships.

As the opening festivities came to an end, a shot of the statue of Christ The Redeemer was shown. What a surreal image. The Prince of Peace overlooking a peaceful and tranquil sea of humanity.

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park

No phones

In regard to Glenbard North’s proposal to their student to “lock their phones” so they can earn reward points, I am amazed that I was able to make it through high school during the ’60s.

I did not have a cell phone, iPad, or a computer. Believe it or not, I did not even have a calculator. At Lane Tech, we were not allowed to bring snacks into class and water bottles were not invented yet. We waited in line between classes to get a quick drink of water at the water fountain in the hall. We were also expected to use the washroom between classes.

And, by the way, our passing period between classes was four minutes. Lane Tech is a huge four-story Chicago public high school, and I honestly believe that classes were purposely scheduled so students would have a long walk on multiple floors. That kept us “in shape.’

Daniel M. Filipek, Mount Prospect