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Bears, cougars, gray wolves to be protected in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD — The gray wolf, American black bear and mountain lion (cougar) will come under the protection of the Illinois Wildlife Code on Jan. 1, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller announced Monday. Senate Bill 3049, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, gives the IDNR the authority to manage these species for the protection of both wildlife and public safety. All three species were present when settlers arrived in Illinois, but were all but gone from the state by the mid-1800s. Due to improved legal protections and habitat restoration, these species are returning to some of their former range in the eastern United States.

“Wolves, mountain lions and black bears have been absent from Illinois for more than 150 years. As the populations of these animals continue to grow, we expect to see occasional individuals dispersing from their current ranges into Illinois,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “I want to thank Governor Quinn and bill sponsors Sen. Linda Holmes and Rep. Kelly Cassidy for their leadership.

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.” SB 3049 allows landowners to take a black bear or mountain lion if there is an imminent threat to lives and property…

Read the entire article on newstrib.com: Bears, cougars, gray wolves to be protected in Illinois

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