OAA promotes coexistence with Ohio’s wildlife. Not only as a group of species with whom our citizens coexist in both rural and urban settings, but also as individual animals deserving of humane treatment just like the animals with whom Ohioans share their homes.
Certain keystone species, like bobcats and coyotes, are particularly important to Ohio’s ecosystem as they are top predators and integral to a healthy ecosystem. These keynote species have been persecuted throughout our state’s history as our state’s population and communities have grown.
Some of our state’s most treasured native wild species, such as the bobcat, were driven to extinction in the mid-1800s. It took decades for bobcats to begin to repopulate in the state. While their numbers have risen since the 1970s, thanks to their status as an endangered species within the state, their recovery is far from complete and in jeopardy as those protections were removed in 2014.
OAA recognizes the way to promote coexistence with Ohio’s wildlife is to expand beyond the traditional wildlife constituency of sportsmen to include hikers, backpackers, bird and wildlife watchers, and photographers in determining wildlife management policy. The opportunity exists for a new approach in educating the general public and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on how we can coexist with wildlife and collaborate with partners and grassroots organizations to advocate for protective policies at the state and local level.
In 2022, OAA successfully advocated for the passage of H.R. 263, The Big Cat Public Safety Act. This bill was signed by President Biden, after passing the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority in July, and passing the United States Senate 100-0 this fall. This law ends the exploitation of tiger cubs in photo opportunities, and require private owners to register the animal(s) they already have, while forbidding them from breeding those animals or acquiring more. We are committed to continuing to protect the wildlife of Ohio.