In Illinois Bobcat to be Hunted; In California Bobcat Protected
In Illinois bobcat hunting was recently legalized. In California, it just became illegal.
Even public officials who support bobcat hunting were outraged when Cecil the lion was killed in Africa. I maintain there is no difference. We don’t have lion in America. Mountain lion are protected (the related Florida panther is endangered). Lynx and bobcat should be protected.
Bald eagle were protected and made a comeback as a result. They were protected not only because they were suffering plummeting numbers, it’s because the bird is our national symbol. Why can’t bobcat, lynx, wolf and others become heritage species? This would be a new classification set forth to protect valued animals, even if they aren’t technically classified as endanged. Yes, of course, where animals are causing a problem, exceptions can be made or animals relocated, etc.
Bobcat hunted in California were ultimately hunted for their pelt. People don’t eat bobcat. The pelts can be sold for big money. While Illinois State Senator Don Harmon spoke with me about how he wants to prevent this, I am skeptical of enforcement, however. Policing the Internet isn’t easy, as officials discovered in California. Instead, the public officials there simply decided to protect bobcat. Here’s (a portion of) the release from Project Coyote:
CALIFORNIA’S FISH AND GAME COMMISSION’S HISTORIC VOTE SHOWS NATIONAL LEADERSHIP ON WILDLIFE PROTECTION
Fortuna, California – Today, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3 to 2* in favor of ending the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California, becoming the first state in the nation to do so.
“The Commission’s vote is historic. Banning the cruel and unnecessary trapping of bobcats for the international fur trade is widely supported by the public and this vote shows California’s continued leadership in protecting wildlife,” says Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote. “California is sending a strong message that the cruel and wanton killing of wildlife, especially for profit, is no longer acceptable.”
Fewer than 100 Californians trap bobcats for the fur trade. Bobcat pelts are feeding the growing international fur market in Asia, Russia and Europe. A single bobcat pelt can sell upwards to $1,000.
“The value of one live bobcat to the millions who enjoy wildlife watching far outweighs the profit a lone fur trapper makes off a bobcat that has been killed,” adds Fox. “Trapping bobcats is ethically indefensible, ecologically unsound, and economically unjustifiable.” Trapped bobcats are generally clubbed and/or suffocated to death.
Bobcats are an important native species to California, helping control rodent populations that carry zoonotic diseases including plague and Hantavirus.