Friday 21 October 2011

Wild cats in Massachusetts

The only wildcat in the wild in Massachusetts is the bobcat (Lynx rufus). It is "harvested" in a controlled manner for the fur trade. Fifty bobcats can be killed per year. There is a hunting season and a closed season when hunting is not allowed. Since 1971 hunting of bobcats has been regulated. They are classified as a "furbearer species" by the authorities of Massachusetts. My personal view is that hunting is horrible and the word "harvesting" in relation to wild animals is disrespectful of nature and arrogant of humankind.

The wildcat hybrid domestic cat is banned in Massachusetts. It is also banned in Alaska, Hawaii and New York states (in NY five generations from the wild serval are allowed in the state but not the city).

As to captive wild cats in Massachusetts, in the private sector and under the AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) there are less than 100 wild cats of any species. The actual number as at October 2011, according to Lynn Culver executive director of FCF is 88. As I understand it these are the numbers in USDA licensed facilities. There will be wildcats and wild cat hybrids held captive illegally and in unregulated facilities. I don't know these numbers and nor does anyone else.

Massachusetts don't allow private sector breeding of wild cats unless it is for the AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP).

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