Today Governor Quinn vetoed legislation that would have allowed bobcat hunting in Illinois. Bobcats had been on Illinois’ threatened species list due to hunting and habitat loss, but have begun to return to some parts of Illinois.
Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois issued this statement:
“This action will ensue that these magnificent predators will continue to return to Illinois’ forests. Bobcats were once an important part of the ecosystem here in the Prairie State, and their recovery is an important victory and milestone for conservation in Illinois.
We applaud Governor Quinn for taking action to protect Illinois bobcats, and for all he has done to protect the Prairie State for future generations. Pat Quinn and his team worked hard to protect Illinois’ last wild places, and restored Illinois’ ability to preserve our natural heritage after a decade of devastating cuts to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He leaves Illinois a legacy that includes newly protected lands across Illinois, and dedicated funding for the professionals at IDNR we count on to protect our natural resources.”
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!
Today the Illinois Senate approved legislation (SB1566) to provide desperately needed funding for Illinois’ state parks and conservation efforts. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been devastated over the last decade by severe cuts to their budget and payroll, leaving them stretched beyond capacity.
We applaud the terrific work of the lead sponsors of the legislation, House Deputy Majority Leader Frank Mautino and State Senator Toi Hutchinson, in building support for this new funding. We also thank Governor Quinn and IDNR Director Marc Miller for their efforts to rebuild the Department and win the confidence of bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate for this legislation.
We count on the IDNR to provide safe, quality outdoor recreation experiences that improve our quality of life and boost local economies, to protect our water supplies, and watch out for the health of our environment. With new, sustainable funding, the professionals at IDNR will continue to do their critical work, and us and future generations to enjoy Illinois’ great outdoors.
Find out how your Senator voted here.