Paul Peditto of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says bears are "not mothers and fathers" ["Young Bear Fair Game, Md. Hunting Officials Say," Metro, Oct. 27]. He's wrong.

Bears show strong bonds between mother and child. Mothers nuzzle and play with their cubs and will fight to the death to defend them. Bears, like most other "higher" animals, display an emotional response when their young are hurt or taken away. Few scientists doubt that mammals and birds -- at the least -- have emotional capacity.

The scholar and physician Maimonides said, "There is no difference between the worry of a human mother and an animal mother for their offspring. A mother's love does not derive from the intellect but from the emotions, in animals just as in humans."

Perhaps hunters want to deny this fundamental aspect of animals in the hope that killing them won't seem so tragic.


Falls Church


Perhaps the most intelligent thing the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has done of late was to call off the ridiculous bear trophy hunt ["Md. Bear Season Begins and Ends," Metro, Oct. 26].

The estimated 500 bears that are left in Maryland after most of their habitat has been encroached on shouldn't be seen as a bother to those of us who choose to live in areas where wildlife remains.

This isn't about food or even real danger, because animals going through trash can hardly be deemed life-threatening. It's about people wanting bear rugs and trophies, the "kill of a lifetime."


Takoma Park