How does tro­phy hunt­ing af­fect wild an­i­mal pop­u­la­tions?

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Q&a -

Since the days of the Ro­man Em­pire, wild an­i­mals have been slaugh­tered to prove power and wealth. Big­ger is bet­ter when it comes to this ‘sport’, which means that dom­i­nant, ma­ture male rhi­nos, elephants, lions, leop­ards and other an­i­mals are the prime tar­gets of hunters. The ar­ti­fi­cially pre­ma­ture loss of strong, healthy in­di­vid­u­als takes vi­tal genes out of the breed­ing pool which, over time, can re­sult in an over­all de­cline in body size and, where ap­pli­ca­ble, also horn or tusk size. Re­mov­ing these front­line an­i­mals also un­der­mines so­cial co­he­sion and can leave mem­bers of prides and herds vul­ner­a­ble to at­tack by other mem­bers of their own species. Al­though some ar­gue that money from tro­phy hunt­ing can help with con­ser­va­tion, there is not enough ev­i­dence to con­vince us that it can.

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