California State Senate passes AB 1254 to Protect Bobcats from Trophy Hunting
SACRAMENTO – (September 9, 2019) – Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove’s (D-Los Angeles) bill to place a moratorium on the cruel and unnecessary trophy hunting of bobcats in California passed the State Senate today on a 31-7 vote.
“California is a leader in wildlife protection and yet the state allows bobcats to be killed merely as trophies,” said Kamlager-Dove. “Nobody hunts bobcats as sustenance. The population of these small predators is self-regulating naturally. Hunting these magnificent creatures is not only without practical necessity, it is immoral.”
The moratorium allows for common-sense exemptions to protect human safety, endangered species, public property and livestock.
Bobcats are an important factor in the control of rodent populations, including invasive nutria rats, which are spreading and causing extensive damage to agricultural communities.
During the past few years, the California Legislature, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and voters have taken significant steps to protect bobcats – the 1998 passage of Proposition 4 which banned body-gripping traps, a 2012 legislative ban on hound hunting of bobcats (and bears), passage of the Bobcat Protection Act in 2013 and a complete ban by the Fish and Game Commission in 2015 on recreational and commercial trapping of bobcats.
Yet even with these protections, trophy hunting of bobcats continues. Nearly 10,000 bobcats have been killed in California during the last 10 years. Although the annual number of bobcats killed has decreased since trapping was banned in 2015, hundreds of bobcats still are slaughtered each year in California by trophy hunters.
AB 1254 would establish in statute a prohibition on the trophy hunting of bobcats until 2025. After 2025, the Fish and Game Commission may reopen the hunting season if the Legislature funds a bobcat management plan to inform and coordinate decisions regarding bobcat populations.
Science should be the basis for guiding wildlife policy and management, not opinion, conjecture or desire.
Wild animals are a public resource, held in public trust, to be managed by governments for the benefit of all citizens, present and future. Enacting this prohibition would spare the hundreds of bobcats that are killed in this state every year for nothing more than boasting rights and preserve the ecological balance that bobcats contribute to their environment.
“California’s wildcats are much more valuable to California residents alive than dead,” said Kamlager-Dove. “Southern California mountain lions face possible extinction in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains within 50 years. We must ensure that bobcats, a similar species, are not threatened with similar destruction.”
To schedule an interview with Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove, contact Alina Evans at (916) 319-2054.
Assembly District 54 consists of Baldwin Hills, Cheviot Hills, the Crenshaw District, Century City, Culver City, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Rancho Park, Westwood and parts of South Los Angeles and Inglewood.