SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Yesterday, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D- Los Angeles, introduced a bill to ban the hunting of bobcats in the state of California. If passed, bobcats will join California’s other wildcat, the mountain lion, on a small list of protected species in the Golden State.
Over the past 10 years, nearly 10,000 bobcats have been killed in California. A small number of trophy hunters are responsible for killing most of the bobcats who have been hunted in California.
“California paves the way and shows the country that residents in this state won’t tolerate cruelty,” said Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove. “California is a leader in wildlife protection, and the time is ripe to lead by putting an end to the trophy slaughter of bobcats. Like their larger cousins, the mountain lion, nobody consumes bobcats for sustenance. These iconic creatures deserve protection for future generations to appreciate their beauty and contribution to the ecological health of the planet.”
“Trophy hunting results in the unnecessary and cruel deaths of California’s majestic little carnivores,” said Crystal Moreland, California state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Few can argue that spotting an elusive bobcat is a wondrous thrill, and California’s beautiful bobcats are far more valuable to its citizens alive than dead.”
Bobcats are a close relative of Canada lynx and weigh on average between 16 to 22 pounds. They are spotted in appearance—to camouflage themselves from prey and their predators (coyotes and mountain lions). Bobcats are adaptive and can flourish in a variety of habitats. They are targeted for trophies and to sell their pelts for the fur trade.
Assembly Bill 1254 is the latest in a series of measures to protect bobcats and other animals:
- In 2015, the Department of Fish and Wildlife banned bobcat trapping.
- In 2013, lawmakers enacted the Bobcat Protection Act, to limit bobcat trapping.
- In 2012, California banned the cruel hound hunting of bobcats and black bears.
- In 1998, voters banned the use of steel-jawed, leghold and other body-gripping traps to capture and hold wildlife, including bobcats. Proposition 4 passed by a 57 percent majority.