On Wednesday, March 17, the proposal to remove the bobcat (Lynx rufus) from the list of species of wildlife regulated in the international trade was rejected by the Parties reviewing proposals today at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The United States introduced the proposal to remove the bobcat from Appendix II listing, which regulates their international trade.
The Parties participated in much debate and there were various points of view on the proposal, including a strong showing of support by Canada, which shares management of Lynx rufus with the U.S. Opposition to the proposal focused on issues concerning the possible impact to illegal trade on other listed spotted cats due to their similarity of appearance. The final vote in the Committee was 53 in support, 46 opposed and 15 abstentions. The final decision will be made by the plenary session of the CoP15 on the final day of the conference. Typically, that vote follows the recommendation of the Committee.
The U.S. held a workshop in Brussels to work with the European Union to resolve concerns about the similarity of appearance issue concerning the bobcat and other endangered spotted cats. The U.S. also developed a draft identification guide to assist wildlife law enforcement officers in identifying Lynx rufus from other protected spotted cats. The U.S. pointed out that bobcat populations in the U.S. have been managed sustainably by state wildlife agencies for over 30 years and are not detrimentally affected by commercial trade. In fact, populations are increasing and recent surveys demonstrate that the population in the U.S. is between 1.7 million and 2.6 million.
Christine Eustis (FWS)