Photo of gray wolf, black bear and cougar face. Text: Illinois Senate Bill 3049, protection for wolves, bears and cougars.  Creative commons photos.


Introduced by Senator Linda Holmes, SB 3049 will amend the Illinois Wildlife Code to add the Gray wolf, American black bear, and Cougar to the list of protected species. These animals are currently very rare or nonexistent in the state. Senate Bill 3049 will help protect immigrants of these species to promote their recovery in Illinois.

Proactive Legislation Paves the Way for Wolves, Bears and Cougars

Authored by Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). Senate Bill 3049 would add wolves, black bears, and mountain lions to the Illinois Wildlife Code thereby giving them "protected species" status.

SB 3049 came into being after a November, 2013 incident when a family near Morrison, Illinois asked state conservation officers to kill a mountain lion hiding under an outbuilding on their farm.

According to Senator Holmes she heard an outcry from animal lovers in her area who embrace the rarity of a wild mountain lion.

"For many years we didn't have them here in Illinois," Holmes said. "Now we're starting to find that some populations of these animals are coming into Illinois, and they are just being shot, without any recourse whatsoever."

Photo of lion drinking in puddle.

At this time, mountain lions have no legal status in Illinois, and thereby no protection. Anyone who sees a mountain lion can kill it and not face any repercussions other than societies' moral condemnation. SB 3049, as originally written would add black bears, gray wolves, and mountain lions to the state's list of protected species.

However, recent amendments added by the Illinois Farm Bureau would restrict those protections and allow landowners or their tenants to legally kill any of these three species if they cause or threaten to cause "harm or death to a human, livestock, domestic animals or structures. . . "

And even if members of these three species do not meet the threshold mentioned above, they can still be killed if designated a "nuisance" animal by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

In the end, despite the added depredation and nuisance clauses, Senate Bill 3049 is a giant first step towards protecting mountain lions in Illinois and should be supported by everyone who believes that there's room in this world for both humans and wildlife.

How You Can Help Protect Illinois' Wildlife

If you live outside Illinois, please forward this page to your Illinois friends and consider sharing it on Facebook.

Write a Letter to Your Representative

SB 3049 has already passed the Senate and is now working its way through the House. If you live in Illinois you can help by writing a short letter to your State Representative asking him or her to vote in favor of SB 3049. These letters will demonstrate support for the bill to help it move through the legislature.

A few minutes of your time could make a big difference for Illinois wildlife.

Click here to look up your legislators' contact information

After entering your address, your representative's contact info will be listed in the third box.

Please also send MLF a copy of your letter. PO Box 1896, Sacramento CA 95812 or email it to Thank you!

Thank you so very much for taking the time to help protect Illinois wolves, bears and lions!

About the Mountain Lion Foundation

The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat. The mountain lion is also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.

We believe that mountain lions are in peril. Our nation is on the verge of destroying this apex species upon which whole ecosystems depend. Hunting mountain lions is morally unjustified, and killing lions to prevent conflicts is ineffective and dangerous. There is a critical need to know more about the biology, behavior, and ecology of mountain lions, and governments should base decisions upon truthful science, valid data, and the highest common good. Conserving critical lion habitat is essential.

Together, we can save America's lion.

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