Commentary on Indiana Wildlife

It breaks my heart that our State is considering destroying both our hardwood forests and our bobcat population. That’s right—the Indiana DNR, without even knowing the current population of bobcats in the State, wants to allow hunters and trappers to start killing them again solely to obtain a trophy or sell their pelts for a profit. What has changed since these small animals that weigh an estimated 20 to 30 pounds were granted protection on our State’s endangered species list in 1969?

What could possibly justify putting these little creatures with tufted ears and bobtails once again on the edge of extinction? Review our national history as an important lesson.

Before the Pilgrims landed in the 17th century, close to 5,000,000 passenger pigeons covered the sky in the Eastern and Southern regions of North America. Additionally, large penguin-like creatures known as the Great Auks occupied various islands off the Northeast coast. Millions of buffalo roamed the central part of the country while eagles and the mighty condor filled the skies in sections of our land. Beavers flourished in and around many rivers and streams.

Think of what our unconscionable slaughter did to these creatures. The Great Auk was quickly destroyed because they made a tasty meal and the last passenger pigeon died in a zoo in Ohio in the 1920s. The buffalo, condor, eagle  and beaver were saved at the 11th hour because decent people realized we owed them a right to live. Their gain was our gain.

And now we face that same tragic moment with the bobcat here in Indiana. To kill these shy and elusive animals with cruel and inhumane hunting and trapping methods is a barbaric act that defies description. We gain nothing as a people by killing a single bobcat, and it is time that we recognize that fact.

In the end, imagine if the only place you could take your children to see a bobcat was a replica in a local museum. What would you tell your daughter if she asked, “Mommy, why did we do that?”