Over the past few years, a rising demand for bobcat pelts in China and Russia has driven up fur prices and caused a boom in bobcat trapping in California. As a result, trappers have been targeting the boundaries of national parks — luring the cats out of these safe havens and into their deadly traps. Fortunately, California’s legislature passed AB 1213, the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013, to protect our parks and wildlife from such commercial exploitation. The Legislature tasked the California Fish and Game Commission with issuing rules to implement the bill.
Right now we have the chance to end all bobcat trapping once and for all in California. The California Fish and Game Commission is voting in August, 2015 on a final rule to implement AB 1213. They are considering two options for adoption:
- Option 1 is to permit commercial bobcat trapping in areas with high density bobcat populations.
- Option 2 is to implement a complete statewide ban on commercial trapping of bobcats.
We need your help to ensure that the Commission votes for Option 2: the statewide ban on commercial bobcat trapping. You can find the draft rules and supportive documents here under Bobcat Protection Act Regulations, including a map of the proposed trapping zones under Option 1.
Unfortunately, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the state agency charged with protecting our wildlife, is instead beholden to the trapping industry and supports continued trapping under Option 1. But it is the Commission that makes the actual decision, and we believe there is a real chance they will reject the Department’s recommendation and instead vote in favor of a statewide trapping ban under Option 2. But they will only do so if they hear loud and clear that Californians support the ban.
You can help in 2 ways.
1. ATTEND THE FISH & GAME COMMISSION HEARINGS ON THE BOBCAT RULEMAKING. If you live nearby or can travel, please come to one or both of the Fish and Game Commission meetings on bobcat trapping, where you can give an oral or written statement about your views. Information on the agendas can be found here.
- MAMMOTH LAKES MEETING, Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 8 am. This hearing will be the first public hearing on the proposed regulations. Address: Mountainside Conference Center, 1 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546.
- FORTUNA MEETING. Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 8 am. The Commission will make their final vote on the two options. Address: River Lodge Conference Center, 1800 Riverwalk Drive, Fortuna, CA 95540.
2. WRITE TO THE FISH & GAME COMMISSION TO VOTE FOR STATEWIDE BAN. Please take a moment and contact the Fish and Game Commission and let them know you support a complete statewide ban on bobcat trapping. Note that original, personalized letters are the most effective way you can help our effort.
- DEADLINE FOR OFFICIAL COMMENT PERIOD is Thursday, July 31, 2015, noon. Submit comments to email@example.com or Fish and Game Commission, 1416 Ninth Street, Room 1320, Sacramento, CA 95814. You can address comments to Executive Director Sonke Mastrup.
- Sample Letter (NOTE THAT YOUR LETTER IS MOST EFFECTIVE IF YOU PERSONALIZE IT)
RE: Agenda Item 29: Ban Bobcat Trapping Statewide
I urge you to implement the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 by banning trapping statewide. I am appalled that hundreds of California’s native bobcats are trapped and killed each year for sale of their skins in the international fur trade. Californians overwhelmingly value our wildlife alive, not as commodities to be exploited for the private profit of a handful of trappers. It’s long past time to end the subsidized destruction of our wildlife and instead protect and value them as living members of a healthy ecosystem. Please vote for the alternative of a complete statewide ban on commercial trapping of bobcats.
TALKING POINTS for Statewide Ban:
- Let the Commission know that you would like to see bobcat trapping banned for anything other than rehabilitation or research
- The aesthetic, ethical and monetary value that living bobcats bring the greater public—in terms of their role in the ecosystem, aesthetic appreciation and tourist economy—trumps the minimal profits that skinned bobcats bring to a handful of bobcat trappers.
- Bobcats and all wildlife belong to the public, and it is the Commission’s duty to act as a steward to protect bobcats in the interest of the public trust as opposed to the interests of a small group of profiteers.
- There are currently fewer than 100 commercial trappers “harvesting” bobcats, and the law requires that these trappers pay entirely for the costs of implementing and enforcing the trapping program. However, the proposed license and tag fees under Option 1 are insufficient to ensure cost recovery of the program. This will effectively result in continued subsidization of commercial trappers by CA taxpayers, which is unacceptable and unlawful.
- In contrast, a statewide ban is easier and cheaper to enforce, protects our wildlife and helps bring California wildlife management into the 21st Century.This is our chance to finally ban all commercial trapping of bobcats in California. Take action now.