Roaring for Bobcats
For decades, The HSUS has campaigned vigorously to stop abusive trophy hunting and commercial trapping practices. This year, we are leading the charge to stop the trophy hunting of wolves in Michigan and end the unsporting and inhumane practices of bear baiting, hounding and trapping in Maine.
California has been a spotlight for our efforts to reform wildlife management and discard archaic practices. Several wildlife-protection bills have already been signed into law and two more currently sit on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. In addition to the bill to ban lead ammunition in hunting, there is also a bill to curb the killing of bobcats by commercial trappers who lurk on the very edge of national parks and national wildlife refuges in order to capture these creatures. Today, the Los Angeles Times joined HSUS and the Center for Biological Diversity (the bill’s cosponsors) in advocating that Brown sign Assembly Bill 1213, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica.
Christine Jensen/The HSUS
Residents around Joshua Tree National Park took note that commercial trappers were lining up on the park’s boundaries and literally luring bobcats out of the park – where they are protected – and into cage traps. Trappers kill bobcats for their fur, which sells for as much as $700 a pelt on the international market – mainly in China, Greece and Russia. Los Angeles Times reporter Louis Sahagun broke the story earlier this year, featuring local residents who were appalled by the exploitation of the beautiful cats.
This issue has special meaning for me. In 1994, I worked hard lobbying to pass the California Desert Protection Act, which made Joshua Tree a national park and expanded the boundaries of the former national monument. Then in 1998, I helped lead Proposition 4, a California ballot initiative to ban the use of body-gripping traps to kill fur-bearing animals.
With those two policy gains, who would have thought that bobcats living mainly in Joshua Tree would still be at risk? But animal exploiters are nothing if not resourceful, requiring constant vigilance on our part.
So now it’s our turn again to cut them off at the pass.
California protects bobcats from steel-jawed leghold traps and snares; it bans trophy hunting of another big cat – the mountain lion; and it bans chasing bears and bobcats with packs of dogs – a gain we secured last year. It’s time to stop unscrupulous trappers from killing these park-residing animals for nothing more than their pelts.
Gov. Brown will sign or veto the bill this week or next, so the bobcats don’t have much time. They can’t roar, but you can.