BILL TO PROTECT BOBCATS PASSES LEGISLATURE

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Local legislators divided on measure

Photo: Bobcat family in Lakeside, photo by Billy Ortiz

September 13, 2013 (Sacramento) – A bill to prohibit trapping of bobcats around public parks and wildlife refuges in California is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature.  The bill, AB 1213, would also prohibit trapping bobcats on private property without the landowner’s permission.   

An estimated 1,813 bobcats were killed in the 2011-2012 license season, up 51% over the prior year. The vast majority of those (1,499) were taken by trappers, the rest by hunters.  Bobcat pelt prices have soared from $78 in 2009 to over $700 today, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The bill arose after an outcry over traps set on private property around Joshua Tree National Park. But trapping is decimating  populations of bobcats in other areas, too.

Among local legislators, state Senators Marty Block and Ben Hueso, both Democrats voted for the bill, while Republicans Joel Anderson and Mary Wyland voted against protecting bobcats.  In the Assembly, Republican Brian Maienschein joined with Democrats Toni Atkins, Lorena Gonzalez and Shirley Weber in voting for the bill; Republicans Rocky Chavez and Marie Waldron voted against it.