IL legislation to protect lions, bears, wolves

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Babble Mouth
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IL legislation to protect lions, bears, wolves

Postby Emily » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:16 pm

from the public news service ... Reply%20to

Illinois Bill has passed Senate; headed to House

Wild Species Could Be Welcome in the Prairie State
Public News Service - IL | April 2014 | Download audio
Animal Welfare
PHOTO: Senate Bill 3049 would add wolves, mountain lions and black bears to the Illinois Wildlife Code, giving them protected status. Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

PHOTO: Senate Bill 3049 would add wolves, mountain lions and black bears to the Illinois Wildlife Code, giving them protected status. Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

April 8, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Hunting and habitat destruction forced wolves, black bears and mountain lions out of Illinois nearly 150 years ago, and as those animals make a slow comeback in the state, there are efforts being made to ensure their protection. The Senate Monday passed SB3049, which amends the Illinois Wildlife Code and adds those animals to the list of protected species. According to state Senator Linda Holmes, who wrote the legislation, those species should be allowed to live in Illinois if they want to.

"There's no reason why these animals shouldn't be able to come into Illinois and not be threatened if they're not threatening anybody," she said. "For the most part, there's very little human interaction with these animals. These animals want to avoid us as much as we want to avoid them."

Holmes said that since 2000 there have been a handful of sightings of cougars, bears and wolves in Illinois and they are the only North American mammals not currently listed as protected species in the state.

She said wolves, bears and lions are co-existing peacefully with humans in many other states, and cases of attacks are extremely rare.

"Around 90 people are killed by lightning each year," she pointed out. "So you have more to fear when you go outside of being struck by lightning than you do of running into any of these animals."

Some people and groups, including the Illinois Farm Bureau, voiced concerns about landowner rights, so Holmes said changes were made to the initial legislation.

"We added an amendment that allows the landowner or tenant to kill either the grey wolf, the black bear or the mountain lion if they are stalking or causing an imminent threat to humans, livestock, domestic animals or property," she said.

Additionally, under the legislation, the Department of Natural Resources could grant a nuisance permit to a landowner if an animal were causing a threat that was not an imminent danger.

Holmes' measure passed the Senate by a unanimous vote and now heads to the House.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL
- See more at: ... JDl0D.dpuf
Babble Mouth
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Re: IL legislation to protect lions, bears, wolves

Postby Emily » Tue May 13, 2014 1:41 pm ... ugars.html

Bill would put wolves, bears, cougars on Illinois' protected list


News-DemocratMay 8, 2014
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Illinois Legislature

The floor of the Illinois Senate.

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SPRINGFIELD — A bill that would give protected status to wolves, bears and cougars -- but still allow landowners and tenants to kill the animals if they pose a threat -- is working its way through the Illinois legislature with wide support.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said legislation is needed on gray wolves, black bears and cougars because they're moving into Illinois -- or already have. But under current Illinois wildlife laws, the animals essentially don't exist.

"Until we include them in our wildlife code, we can't manage them in any way," Cassidy said.

Cassidy said the legislation is supported by sportsmen, farmers and downstate interests, as well as environmentalists, who are all "happily singing Kumbaya together for the first time in a long time."

The bill's co-sponsors include Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton; Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem; and Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg -- all of whom are known in the House as protectors of the interests of downstate sportsmen and farmers.

Costello said, "I would like to thank Rep. Cassidy for working with the Farm Bureau to elevate their concerns."

The bill would put the three animals on the state's list of protected species, meaning it would be illegal to kill, possess or sell the animals or any parts of the animals.

However, a landowner or tenant who is on his or her property would be allowed to kill a bear, cougar or wolf if there is a "reasonable expectation that it causes an imminent threat of physical harm or death to a human, livestock, domestic animals or harm to structures or other property on the owner or tenant's land."

Property owners and tenants also could seek a "nuisance permit" that would allow the killing of the animals if they are "causing a threat to an owner or tenant of land or his or her property that is not an immediate threat."

Though cougar sightings in Illinois remain rare occurrences for now, Costello said cougars appear to be moving toward Illinois from the Black Hills region. Cassidy said breeding packs of gray wolves are located near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

The state Department of Natural Resources supports the legislation.

DNR director Marc Miller in January said: "We believe there is room on our Illinois landscape for apex predators, but these species also will require management as they re-establish and grow in numbers to deal with human-wildlife interactions, nuisance animals, and to keep a balance in predator-prey numbers within suitable habitat areas. Placing the species on the protected list is a necessary step."

Cassidy said she expects a House vote on the measure early next week. The House Agriculture and Conservation Committee approved it 16-0 on Tuesday. The bill, SB 3049, would then need approval from the Senate.

Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at or 239-2511.

Read more here: ... rylink=cpy

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