California Officials Decide to Keep Bobcat Pelts on the Bobcats

By on November 20, 2015 with 7 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Bobcats are gorgeous.  Nobody eats bobcats. They are too small to pose a threat to cattle. And they are predators that keep small prey populations in check.

Even so, last year, at about this time, commercial trappers in California placed box traps outside of national parks and in other areas to lure bobcats (we had banned the use of steel-jawed traps and other body-gripping traps by ballot initiative in California in 1998). Once the trap door slammed shut, the bobcats were doomed. The trappers would return and then strangle, stomp, or bludgeon the confined, terrified animals. Trappers killed more than a thousand animals that way last year. Bobcat fur sells for as much as $700 a pelt to the international market – mainly China, Greece and Russia.

As of today, no more. The California Fish and Game Commission and the state legislature tag-teamed on a measure to ban any commercial trapping of bobcats. State Assemblymember Richard Bloom got an anti-trapping bill passed in 2013, and this summer, the California Fish and Game Commission officially took action to make it “unlawful to trap any bobcat, or attempt to do so, or to sell or export any bobcat or part of any bobcat taken in the State of California.”

This is a great triumph. Residents around Joshua Tree National Park had documented 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. That sort of thing was happening throughout the state.

Even before Assemblymember Bloom’s bill was enacted and also before the California Fish and Game Commission ending any commercial trapping, we had worked in 2012 to secure enactment of a bill introduced by then state Senator and now Congressman Ted Lieu, to ban any hound hunting of bobcats.

Piece by piece, we are building a body of law to protect these creatures from abuse.  Governor Jerry Brown, by signing bills and appointing animal-friendly commissioners, helped us get there.

In 1990, we passed a statewide law to ban any trophy hunting of mountain lions, the bobcats’ much larger cat cousins. With the implementation of new bobcat protection laws, we have made California a much safer haven for wild cats in the state. That’s a wonderful outcome, and a reason to celebrate. Bobcat coats look best on their original owners.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Tom O'Key says:

    Today, November 20, 2015, California’s bobcats gained protection from legal trapping! It’s over!
    Now, two additional things need to be done.
    First, is a full ban on all commercial trapping.
    Next, is the establishment of an environmental court for wildlife law enforcement!
    Two critical achievements needing everyone’s support.

    • Heidi H. says:

      Amen, Tom…. I am arriving at this blog a little late, even though I was sent victory emails about the ban, from animal-protection groups like the Center
      For Biological Diversity — everything you say above is true, and victories
      like this one give us hope and more courage to keep fighting for a ban on
      all commercial trapping, in every state, for all animal species — and then
      maybe we can even stop the USDA Wildlife Services from all of their trapping and killing of wild animals (over a million killed every year, including bobcats)…

  2. David Bernazani says:

    This is great news. No more will greedy people kill California’s beautiful bobcats to sell their skins to foreign countries. At last this barbaric and antiquated business has been stopped.

  3. Diana says:

    Congratulations to my former home state.
    As a native Californian now living in New England i am proud to be able to say well done. My adopted state doesn’t view wildlife the same way. In fact NH is proposing a trapping season on Bobcats for the first time in years.
    Baiting of bears, steel hold traps, all are encouraged here. And our local paper even featured a write up on the increasing number of women who are getting into the trapping business.
    It’s disgusting

    • Maya says:

      I cannot believe what I’m reading here! I’m appalled! I had to look it up online to see for myself because I like to hold on to my better delusions and I do see that New Hampshire allows all these things.

      I’m pretty horrified and pledge to bypass that state in all future New England vacations.

  4. May Fite says:

    These beautiful cats need to be left alone

    • Realist bob says:

      Do you people not realize that hunting legally not only helps the population and well being of the wildlife but the funds raised from buying hunting licenses and tags goes to support the habitat these animals live in? I think the real problem here is you.

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