A senate bill has been approved that will offer American black bears, gray wolves and mountain lions protection in Illinois, under state law. Marc Miller, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, announced that these species will be protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code from January 1st 2015.
These three species were once native to the state, but disappeared altogether by the mid-1800s, due to hunting and habitat destruction by settlers to the region. However, these large, predatory species are making a comeback across parts of their former range, as a result of certain legal protections and efforts to restore their natural habitats.
A large part of this new role for the IDNR will be teaching people in the state how to appropriately interact with these creatures, in order to keep both people and animals safe. In a recent press release, Miller stated, “This law gives the Department the ability to create long-term management goals and to draft response protocols on managing human-wildlife conflicts with these three species.”
Hopefully, this bill will pave the way for more protected native animals as they gradually return to parts of the country they have historically inhabited.
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