In recent years, cougar, gray wolf and black bear sightings have prompted Illinois lawmakers to revisit conservation legislation protecting the species. Although wildlife officials say each species is still absent from Illinois, it is believed they will eventually make a return. Last month, Senate Bill 3049 SB 3049) passed both statehouse chambers and adds the three animals to those protected under the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act. The bill is awaiting Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature.
Meanwhile, a black bear that wandered into Winnebago County last week is making its way across northern Illinois. The young male was seen in Rockford, Roscoe, Belvidere, Genoa and Sycamore. Authorities say the bear may be the same black bear seen in Freeport and Stockton a few days before it was photographed in Winnebago County by Sheryl Hutchinson. The bear likely wandered into Illinois from Wisconsin.
Rockford’s “no chicken” ordinance has also been a topic of conversation, after two guest columns appeared in the print edition of The Rock River Times challenging the law. According to Municipal Code 1970, § 5-25; Ord. No. 1988-448-O, 11-14-1988, it is illegal to raise and keep live chickens in Rockford.