A bill banning the commercial trapping of bobcats has been introduced in the California Legislature by Assemblyman Richard Bloom. The Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 would make it illegal to trap, import, export or sell any bobcat part or product.
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.
At Care2, we’ve been keeping you informed about the dire consequences of the Chinese demand for rhino horns and ivory, but it seems that the Chinese, amongst others, are also developing a penchant for bobcat pelts.
Globalization is decimating wildlife everywhere, not just in Africa. It's not just a moral or law enforcement issue, it's fundamentally economic. When global markets pay an order of magnitude more of wildlife spoils, we pay criminals to evade enforcers. Meanwhile, of course, economic support for wildlife protection is seen politically as "too expensive".