“Perhaps you are surprised to learn that it is perfectly legal to trap these big cats in order to make money, not just in California but in many states? In general, the bobcat is protected in midwestern states, but not in western states, while in eastern states a permit is required to destroy bobcats. Clearly, this practice is horrible, but AB1213 is happening now because there has been a 51 percent increase over the past year in the number of bobcats killed in California. According to Bloom, this is due to an increased demand for exotic animals pelts in China, Russia, Greece and other foreign markets, which means the price of a pelt has risen from $78 to about $700 since 2009.
“The problem, according to wildlife advocates, is that there is very little regulation of bobcat trapping in California and nobody really knows how many bobcats there are. The state’s estimate of 70,000 bobcats is three decades old, said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel and wildlands program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. Commercial trappers can now go virtually anywhere they want in the state, including, in some cases, private property, unless it is explicitly closed to trapping, Cummings said.“Under California’s antiquated trapping laws, it’s perfectly legal for trappers to line the boundary of a national park with traps, kill the park’s wildlife, and ship the animals’ pelts to China,” Cummings said.