With Climate Change, Trophy Hunters Are Shooting Themselves
Trophy Hunting May Drive Extinctions, Due to Climate Change; According to a new study, hunting the most impressive animals weakens a species’ ability to survive in the face of environmental changes.
Stephen Leahy, November 28, 2017 (National Geographic)
“Trophy hunters, as well as poachers who ‘harvest’ the big males—antelopes and deer with the largest horns and antlers, elephants with the longest tusks, or lions with the most impressive manes—are putting those species at greater risk of extinction with climate change…[According to a just-released British study, ‘trophy’] animals tend to be the most evolutionarily fit and possess the high-quality genes a population of animals need to adapt quickly to a changing environment…They also father a high proportion of the offspring…
[If they are killed before spreading those genes, it] reduces the overall fitness and resilience of that population…When environmental conditions change—a shift in seasonal rainfall or warmer temperatures—the risk of extinction increases dramatically, even with a healthy population of animals apparently unaffected by trophy hunting…This can happen even with an annual harvest rate as low as 5 percent of the high-quality males. With environmental change now a reality across the globe, the study shows that some animal populations facing even relatively light hunting pressure are more vulnerable to extinction than is generally believed…This also means poachers are even more of a threat since they target big males…” click here for more