Bill Would Ban Trapping of Bobcats in Calif. for Commercial Purposes

"Environmental groups and wildlife lovers near Joshua Tree National Park on Monday applauded a proposed state law that would ban trapping of bobcats for commercial purposes."

"Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced AB 1213 in response to the fury of thousands of people angered by the recent discovery of bobcat traps set along the boundaries of the national park. They responded with petition drives, social media campaigns and telephone calls to lawmakers.

'Assemblyman Bloom's bill is a critical step in bringing California's antiquated wildlife laws into the 21st century,' said Brendan Cummings, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's wildlands programs and a resident of the community of Joshua Tree. 'Right now, it's legal for trappers to line the boundary of a national park with traps, kill the park's wildlife and ship their pelts overseas.'

Bloom expressed concern about the lack of reliable population estimates for bobcats in California, which he said makes it all but impossible for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine a sustainable harvest limit. The most recent survey of bobcats in Joshua Tree National Park was conducted in 1979.

Trappers are keenly interested in bobcats today because the price of a pelt has risen from $78 to about $700 since 2009 in China, Russia, Greece and other foreign markets. 'So right now, the prudent thing to do is to stop commercial trapping because that will protect the species,' Bloom said."

Louis Sahagun reports for the Los Angeles Times March 4, 2013.

Source: LA Times, 03/07/2013