Big Cat Rescuers sent 3095 Letters asking USFWS to Protect the Bobcat From Being Traded For Their Fur
U.S. Bobcat Proposal Fails To Receive Support
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)
Proposal To Remove Lynx Rufus (Bobcat) From Appendix II
L. rufus was included in Appendix II of CITES in 1977 along with all species of Felidae that had not already been listed. The listings at this time occurred prior to the adoption of a format for proposals, and there was no clarification of whether L. rufus was listed in its own right or for similarity of appearance purposes. At CoP4 (Botswana 1983), it was agreed by the Conference of the Parties that this species’ continued listing was solely based on Article II, paragraph 2(b) to ensure effective control of trade in other felids. Monitoring of wild L. rufus populations since 1977 continues to demonstrate that the species is not threatened; harvest and trade are well regulated. According to Nowell and Jackson (1996), L. rufus management programs in the United States and Canada are the most advanced management programs for commercial exploitation of feline furbearers. These programs ensure long-term sustainable use of the species and support its conservation.
This proposal is based on an analysis of recent information derived from five sources:
- A SURVEY OF ALL RANGE COUNTRIES FOR LYNX SPP., CONDUCTED DURING 2005-2006 IN SUPPORT OF THE REVIEW OF THE APPENDICES BY THE ANIMALS COMMITTEE;
- A STUDY BY TRAFFIC NORTH AMERICA (COOPER AND SHADBOLT 2007) OF TRADE IN LYNX SPP., INCLUDING A COMPILATION OF INFORMATION ON ILLEGAL TRADE IN THESE SPECIES AND AN ASSESSMENT OF THE POTENTIAL FOR TRADE IRREGULARITIES THAT ARE LIKELY TO OCCUR DUE TO THE SIMILARITY OF APPEARANCE AMONG THESE SPECIES;
- CITES TRADE DATA FOR LYNX SPP. FOR THE YEARS 2002 THROUGH 2006 [FROM THE UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME – WORLD CONSERVATION MONITORING CENTER (UNEP-WCMC) CITES TRADE DATABASE].
- THE OUTCOME OF A MEETING HELD IN BRUSSELS IN OCTOBER 2008, WHICH WAS JOINTLY ORGANIZED AND CONVENED BY THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISCUSSING THE DEGREE OF ILLEGAL TRADE IN LYNX SPP. RELATED TO L. RUFUS LOOK-ALIKE CONCERNS. PARTICIPANTS INCLUDED MANAGEMENT AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES OF RANGE COUNTRIES OF LYNX SPP.
- THE RESULTS OF A SURVEY CONDUCTED BY THE SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED STATES THROUGH RESEARCHERS AT CORNELL UNIVERSITY (2008) AND IN CONSULTATION WITH CANADA AND MEXICO, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTIMATING THE L. RUFUS POPULATION SIZE, DISTRIBUTION, AND STATUS THROUGHOUT ITS RANGE.
An analysis of information from these sources suggests that inclusion of L. rufus in Appendix II due to similarity of appearance to other felids is no longer warranted. The survey by TRAFFIC North America (Cooper and Shadbolt 2007) of North American and European fur industry representatives who deal with Lynx spp. suggests that international, European, Asian, and North American markets all seem to prefer both L. rufus and Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) over other Lynx spp. The survey of range countries, conducted by the United States for the Review of the Appendices by the Animals Committee, as well as the trade data show that trade in Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is well controlled, especially by range countries. WCMC data provide further support by showing that the level of trade in L. lynx and L. pardinus is minor relative to the level of trade in L. rufus and L. canadensis, and based on the Lynx spp. range country survey conducted for the Review of the Appendices by the Animals Committee, take from the wild of all Lynx spp. is highly regulated. Range country responses to this survey indicate that range countries have implemented adequate domestic legislation as well as regulations, management, and enforcement controls to manage harvest and trade in other Lynx spp. Further, in the opinion of industry representatives, distinguishing L. rufus parts, pieces and derivatives from those of Lynx canadensis is not difficult and can be accomplished with limited experience and/or training (Cooper and Shadbolt 2007). To facilitate species identification, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has produced a web-based Lynx identification manual designed for use by CITES authorities and other enforcement officials. The manual has been designed as an aide in distinguishing full skins and skins lacking a head and tail of L. rufus and other Lynx spp.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
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Caring for cats – Ending the trade
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