Target: Bruce Rauner, Governor of Illinois
Goal: Don’t allow hunters to shoot one bobcat each year after they’ve recovered from near extinction.
Hunters are allowed to kill one bobcat per hunting season because of a bill signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner over the summer. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2016. Bobcat hunting has not been legal in Illinois in over 40 years.
Unregulated hunting and habitat change led to bobcats being placed on Illinois’ list of threatened species in 1977. Bobcat populations responded well to habitat restoration and protection and they were removed from the threatened list in 1999. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), which will oversee the hunting, there are currently an estimated 5,000 bobcats in Illinois. The IDNR plans on issuing 500 permits for the first year.
The Humane Society contends that bobcats are a critical part of the Illinois ecosystem and help farmers by eating squirrels, rabbits, voles, mice, and rats. They binge when food is plentiful and often go without food for days at a time. Bobcats are curious creatures and, like the domestic house cat, purr when content. Bobcats are inedible and are not a threat to humans nor livestock.
Former Governor Pat Quinn vetoed the bill before leaving office last January. Governor Rauner has spoken publicly of his love for hunting, fishing, and sport shooting. When lawmakers considered the vote in the spring session, there was a heated debate on the House floor. There was no impact study conducted and reducing their numbers can only be detrimental to the larger ecosystem.
By signing this petition below, you will urge Governor Rauner to repeal the law and ban bobcat hunting in Illinois.
Dear Governor Rauner,
The senseless slaughtering of bobcats by hunters in Illinois must not be allowed to proceed. As the outrage over the killing of a lion in Zimbabwe shows, most Americans do not approve of trophy hunting in any form. As bobcats are inedible, there can be no reason to kill them other than for their pelts or as trophies.
Bobcats are solitary creatures and not a threat to humans or livestock. Killing these beautiful creatures can only be detrimental to the larger ecosystem and lead to them once again becoming a threatened species.
I urge you to repeal the recent law allowing the hunting of bobcats. Killing these wild cats could lead to drastic reductions in reproductive rates as well as swell the number of pests that farmers must contend with every day. Please take action to stop the slaughter before it begins.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Seread