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By JOHN ARTHUR, Californian executive editor
Catching up on an item from last week:
Reader Susan Gill said it would be helpful if electronic editions of the newspaper had built-in links to other stories and she is right. I told her I hadn't figured out how to do this but guidance is coming and I hope we can soon make this a regular feature of all our electronic editions, whether read on phone, tablet or computer.
The Californian welcomes your comments and suggestions. To offer your input by phone, please call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voice-mail message or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won't be published.
Secondly, Susan asked if stories could have an "email to" button to make it easier to pass on stories you think someone else might like. I caught up with Logan Molen, a senior vice president here and director of our interactive programs, and he noted:
"We stopped including a specific "Email This Story" button because so few people used it. Instead, we're devoting that space to more popular social-sharing features, and figure if people want to email an item, they can cut and paste the url into an email and share it that way."
So Susan -- cut and paste away and get those stories to where they need to go!
READER: I'm writing to complain about your decision to discontinue publishing Sally Forth. Many of the comics that you continue to publish simply are not funny. I barely glance through the comics section now that Sally is gone. I hope that you will reconsider this foolish decision.
Julie M. Gonzales
ARTHUR: Thanks for writing, Julie. Comics are a special subject in this column, as regular readers know. Everyone (including me) has their favorite strips. However from time to time we see new ones that we believe deserve a spot, or deserve to come back, and the unfortunate truth is, that means another strip has to go.
This time we decided to cancel Sally Forth. It turned out that our timing was poor, because of the development of the plot line, but all in all I have to say the decision has not generated many complaints.
However, a warning: we were just offered a new comic that I think is tremendous. Stay tuned.
READER: As a Shafter native and a large cat veterinarian and consultant, I have been forced to follow the Shafter panther story. This last story, however, amazed me at the lack of accuracy of readily available information. ("Alleged panther sightings in Shafter sparking skepticism, wonderment," May 31.)
Mountain lion, cougar, puma, catamount, and panther are all different names for the same species, Felis concolor. This cat is found throughout North, Central, and South America. I am hoping David Germano was misquoted as saying he thought people saw either a mountain lion or a cougar, as they are both big and light colored cats. Yes, they are, because they are the same cat. These animals can live anywhere from desert to tropical areas. They are very adaptable, with varying sizes depending on region.
Ask people in Florida, or anywhere in the Southeastern United States, about conservation efforts for the Florida Panther. This still the same light colored cat as our typical cougar. I work with black leopards and jaguars and not once have they ever been referred to as panthers by anyone in the biology field.
One resident referred to prints in the dirt he had seen, but, to his credit, he believed they were left by a raccoon or skunk. First, think of the size difference. Second, panthers have retractable claws, so they do not leave claw marks like skunks or raccoons.
Unfortunately, I will have to almost agree with Mr. Fabrie. If the Shafter panther does exist, it is most likely an animal that has either escaped or been released by someone who realized it was more than they could handle.
I would recommend contacting Joe Maynard at the Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond for solid information on non-domestic feline species such as this to keep the facts straight. It is a fun story, but keep the reporting accurate.
Kristian Krause, DVM, DABVP (Feline)
Lake Forest, CA.
ARTHUR: Noted. Thanks. With any luck we won't be writing about panthers again for a long time. Read the original story here.