The Bobcat Protection Act of 2013
The most common wildcat in North America, the bobcat (Lynx rufus) is named for its short, bobbed tail. They are medium-sized cats and are slightly smaller but similar in appearance to their cousin, the lynx. Their coats vary in color from shades of beige to brown fur with spotted or lined markings in dark brown or black. Bobcats tend to be smaller than lynx and do not have the noticeably longer legs and disproportionately larger feet of lynx.
The Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 (AB-1213) sets a no-trapping buffer zone around Joshua Tree National Park in South-eastern California and other parks where bobcats are protected year-round.
Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1213 into law on October 11, 2013. The Act also prohibits trapping of bobcats on private property without the written consent of the land owner, and directs the state Fish and Game Commission to set trapping fees at the levels necessary to offset the state’s costs of implementing and enforcing the program.
Assembleyman Richard Bloom introduced AB 1213 in response to the public outcry that followed the discovery earlier this year of bobcat traps set on private property along the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. The Enrolled Bill can be read HERE.
“Across California, there is broad agreement on the need to preserve vital, irreplaceable elements of our ecosystem and protect our state’s natural resources and wildlife from exploitation,” Bloom said in a prepared statement. “AB 1213 is an important step toward that goal.”
The price a trapper can get for a bobcat (Lynx rufus) pelt has risen from about $78 in 2009 to more than $700 today. As a result, trapping of bobcats across California skyrocketed.
An estimated 1,813 bobcats were taken statewide during the 2011-2012 license year, an increase of about 51% over the previous season, according to state wildlife authorities. Trappers took 1,499 of those bobcats with hunters taking the rest.
A lack of reliable population estimates for bobcats in California makes it all but impossible for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine a sustainable harvest limit for the Bobcat.
Defenders of Wildlife report that approximately 725,000 to 1,020,000 bobcats remain in the wild. The map below shows their range in the U.S.A. The Defenders of Wildlife site gives more information about Bobcats.
Bobcats are classified as a State endangered species in Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, and Iowa.
The new Act recognizes that bobcats and other native wildlife often cross the boundaries of national parks and other protected areas into adjacent areas where the taking of bobcats is currently allowed pursuant to the Fish and Game Code and regulations.
Section 3 states in part –
Commencing January 1, 2016, the commission shall consider whether to prohibit bobcat trapping within, and adjacent to, preserves, state conservancies, and any additional public or private conservation areas identified to the commission by the public as warranting protection.
Bobcats are also listed under Appendix II of C.I.T.E.S, the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, which means international trade of Bobcat products must be strictly controlled. See THIS document which details the 2004 amendment to CITES. Recently, the US Fisheries & Wildlife Department tried once again to have the Bobcat removed from Appendix II, but were not successful.