DOHA—Reminiscent of the 2007 debate in The Hague, delegates at the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in Doha, Qatar, today rejected an American proposal to remove the bobcat (Lynx rufus) from protection under the CITES Appendices. The USA has repeatedly tried and failed to remove CITES protection for the bobcat.
“The bobcat is already the most heavily trafficked cat species with tens of thousands of skins exported from the USA” said Will Travers, President of the Species Survival Network. “Maintaining the species on Appendix II provides an important trade monitoring opportunity and delivers additional protection for one of the most endangered cats in the world, the Iberian lynx, whose fur is virtually indistinguishable in appearance.”.
The Iberian lynx is the world’s most endangered felid, with only 84 to 143 adults remaining in two breeding populations; 2 of 9 recognized Eurasian lynx subpopulations are Critically Endangered and 4 are Endangered; illegal skin trade remains the leading threat to the Eurasian lynx.
Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA and SSN North America Coordinator added: “It’s terribly disappointing when my government seems to act on behalf of commercial industry rather than in the interest of the species and in step with the overwhelming majority of conservation-minded, compassionate citizens. I hope this vote sends a strong message to the US Government that bobcats and related species across the globe deserve a long-term reprieve from unfettered exploitation for commercial gain.”
· Distribution: Canada, Mexico, and USA.
· Population: USA population 1,419,333 to 2,638,738 (Roberts 2008) and increasing; size of Canadian population unknown, but believed ‘secure’; size and trend of Mexican population unknown, and species considered ‘very rare’ in some areas and ‘relatively abundant’ in others.
· Trade: Between 1998 and 2007, 481,975 specimens were traded internationally; most (439,177) were skins (CITES Trade Database 2009); other specimens traded internationally included tails (used for garment trim), garments, skin pieces, and leather products; main importers were Greece and Italy; USA was by far the largest exporter, followed by Canada, with very few exports from Mexico.