Today Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 3049 into law, which adds cougars, black bears, and wolves to the list of species protected in the Illinois Wildlife Code. The legislation was an initiative of Gov. Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The possible return of large predators like cougars, bears, and wolves to Illinois is a sign that decades of investment and effort to restore natural habitat in Illinois and the Midwest are paying off. We applaud Governor Quinn and his team for taking this critical step to ensure Illinois is prepared for the return of these magnificent animals. Protecting these species under the Illinois Wildlife Code will now enable the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to manage populations of these animals safely. These predators were once at the top of the food chain, and their return would be a significant benefit to Illinois’ ecosystems and a major economic asset, as wildlife viewing continues to grow as a popular vacation activity. We can all be proud of Illinois’ conservation efforts to date, and that Illinois will be prepared to welcome back these animals to the Prairie State.
We also thank State Senator Linda Holmes and State Representative Kelly Cassidy for sponsoring SB 3049, and the thousands of Sierra Club members and others across Illinois who contacted their legislators to help pass the legislation. Congratulations!