The War on Joshua Tree’s BobcatsBy Michael Frank on February 12th, 2013
Quick, when you hear “fur trapper” what do you think? Probably not the high desert of Joshua Tree National Park or bobcat pelts — but that’s exactly where a battle is being waged over fur trapping just outside the park’s boundaries. A legal loophole puts no restriction on the number of bobcats that can be trapped adjacent to JT, and it’s caused a minor industry to erupt: Trappers capturing the animals so they can sell their pelts for up to $600 an animal in China. And while it’s an ethical problem for some, it’s also a Park Service dilemma, because although the cats are trapped once they leave the park boundary, the animals are important to Joshua Tree’s tourism economy and its ecosystem (the cats prey on rabbits and rodents). The other problem: a lot of the traps have been showing up on private land adjacent to the park, which has local residents fuming. They say there ought to be a buffer that extends beyond the park boundary, to protect the long-term biodiversity of the region and the range of an animal that doesn’t recognize human demarkations. Via L.A. Times.
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