Excessive hunting and habitat loss led to drastic population reductions and bobcats were listed as a threatened species in Illinois in 1977. Even in areas where bobcat populations have been slowly recovering, spotting one is an uncommon and treasured event.
Bobcats are also an important figure in the state's ecosystem. Illinois lacks additional apex predators, such as wolves or bears, so bobcats play an essential role in maintaining a healthy and diverse ecosystem.
Despite all of this, there are still those that would rather see these animals killed using some of the cruelest methods out there. Using archaic steel-jawed leghold traps, trappers only need to check their traps once a day, so the bobcat could be left languishing in pain for hours, causing some to chew off their own limbs to escape. Houndsmen will unleash packs of dogs to chase bobcats through the woods for miles - occasionally leading to fighting, injuries and even death between the animals.
We should be managing wildlife in a scientific way that seeks the optimal health of the ecosystem. Please contact Gov. Rauner at 217-782-0244 or at this webform and urge him to veto HB 352, otherwise known as the "bobcat bill."
Samantha Hagio is wildlife abuse campaign manager for The Humane Society of the United States.