LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — State officials voted Wednesday to ban bobcat trapping across the state of California.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the ban, which is a blanket ban on all bobcat trapping with the exception of depradation trapping, officials said.
The regulations are expected to take effect before the start of the 2015-2016 bobcat trapping season.
While fewer than 100 Californians trap bobcats for the fur trade, officials say bobcat pelts are feeding the growing international fur market in Asia, Russia and Europe.
A single bobcat pelt can fetch upwards of $1,000 on the open market.
Bobcats are an important native species to California, helping control rodent populations that carry potentially deadly diseases including plague and Hantavirus, according to officials.
In a letter to the Commission, Dr. Rick Hopkins, Project Coyote Science Advisor and Conservation Biologist said, “While sport hunting or killing of predators is often touted a management tool, it rarely is; in essence we manage for the sport hunt, not by it.”
The ban will become effective after approval by the state Office of Administrative Law and submission to the Secretary of State, according to officials.