For Immediate Release, August 17, 2023
Alejandro Olivera, +52 612 104 0604, email@example.com
Protections Sought to Safeguard Mexican Bobcats
LA PAZ, Mexico— The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned Mexico’s environmental ministry today to protect bobcats under the country’s list of species at risk. Mexican bobcats face numerous threats, including illegal trade, hunting, habitat loss, urbanization, vehicle collisions and the U.S. border wall.
“Mexico must include bobcats as species at risk so we can learn more about their status and ensure hunting and the U.S. border wall don’t drive these beautiful animals extinct,” said Alejandro Olivera, a senior scientist and Mexico representative at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In recent years demand for Mexican bobcat pelts and trophies has tragically increased. Mexican authorities grant dozens of bobcat hunting permits every year, all while these cats are illegally trafficked on social media platforms.”
Bobcats, also known as a lynx, are found across Mexico, with recorded sightings in 27 of the 32 states. Their total population numbers are unknown. The Mexican bobcat is the smallest of the bobcat species, growing to about twice the size of a house cat. These southern bobcats have denser hair and more spots on their coats than their northern cousins but have the same distinctive tufts of fur framing their faces.
The Sonoran bobcat population was historically connected across the Mexico-U.S. border with a continuous flow of animals between the two nations. But construction of the U.S. border wall has fragmented this essential movement. There has been no research in Mexico on the effects of the border wall, poaching or social media trade on the bobcat population.
Mexican bobcats are classified as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and their international trade is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Yet within Mexico, bobcats lack protections and can be directly targeted for trophy hunting or for their pelts.
Today’s action seeks protections under Mexico’s list of species at risk. If successfully listed, any actions that threaten Mexican bobcats would require population monitoring and management plans. More monitoring would provide better information about the bobcat’s status and help ensure that hunting and the U.S. border wall don’t threaten the species’ survival.
The Center’s petition fell outside the official window when Semarnat, Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, is open to receiving proposals. Semarnat’s practice of restricting proposal submissions to certain time periods means petitioners have waited up to 10 years to submit a new species proposal.
Listing the Mexican bobcat will ensure that the animals have consistent protections across their international range.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.