Trophy Hunting and Evolution

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Trophy Hunting and Evolution

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In IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) “Informing decisions on trophy hunting,” the paper stated that trophy hunting has been the subject of extreme debate that went through different levels to either end or restrict the said activity, including bans on carriage or import of trophies. A group of European Parliament members have called for the signing of a Written Declaration that calls: “to examine the possibility of restricting all import of trophies into the EU, to ensure proper implementation of the rules by Member States, and to persuade countries that are issuing permits to trophy hunters without due consideration for the impacts of trophy hunting on conservation and animal welfare to discontinue this practice.”

The paper defined trophy hunting as an activity where animals are hunted for a specific purpose, such as the collection of large antlers. It was mentioned that there was the influx of poorly conducted and poorly regulated cases both beyond and within the European Union. A foreign or local hunter would be paid to hunt one or more individuals of a certain species along with certain characteristics from a large size to antlers. The hunter would frequently retain and take home the trophy. Local communities and hunters would always use the hunted animals’ meat for food. Numerous deer hunters would hunt their targets for the trophy, food, and experience. Trophy hunting would occur in the numerous countries of Europe, USA, Canada, Mexico, and the different countries in East, Central, and South Asia. The activity also occurs in around half of Africa’s 54 countries and in the several countries in Central and South America, Australia, and New Zealand.



The “African wildlife conservation and the evolution of hunting institutions” has highlighted how Cecil the Lion’s death revived debates about the role of hunting and hunters in conservation. Cecil’s death, Namibia’s controversial auctioned black rhinoceros hunt, and the public and media’s recent outcry have triggered renewed calls for increased regulation that NGO campaigns would support and promote. The calls would push policymakers from both USA and other Western countries to exercise either tighter restrictions or complete bans on certain aspects of recreational hunting, and raised hunting’s profile in recent academic literature. Conservation scientists, on the other hand, addressed their concerns that hunting is a threat to African wildlife populations.

In “Intense selective hunting leads to artificial evolution in horn size,” a phenotypic definition of minimum horn curl determines if a ram can be shot or not in Canada’s sport harvest of mountain sheep rams, while a horn size is a vital characteristic of success in male-male competition over breeding opportunities in wild sheep.

IUCN’s paper has mentioned that well-managed trophy hunting, which occurs in the numerous parts of the world, can produce some much-needed incentives and revenue for the government and allow private and community landowners to sustain and restore wildlife as land use and engineer conservation actions, including anti-poaching interventions. Trophy hunting can provide much needed income, jobs, and other vital economic and social benefits to indigenous and local communities in places where these benefits are frequently rare. Numerous indigenous and local communities have decided to resort to trophy hunting as a means to conserve wildlife and improve sustainable livelihoods.



The said paper mentioned that the prices paid for the hunts have huge variations, from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of (US) dollars, and feature substantial revenue flow from developed to developing countries.

It was suggested that poor trophy hunting practices, either within the EU or in other countries, can be improved through sustained engagement, support for responsible national agencies to improve governance frameworks, and on-the-ground management. However, viable alternative long-term livelihood provisions and conservation incentives must be identified if initiatives to either prohibit or restrict trophy hunting should be exercised.

Strong scrutiny of hunting because of bad examples has been tied with numerous confusions and misinformation about hunting’s nature:

1.) Trophy hunting is synonymous with “canned” hunting;

2.) It is illegal;

3.) It generates declines of iconic species such as elephants, rhinos, and lions; and

4.) Photographic tourism can readily replace trophy hunting.

None of these statements are accurate, yet these would generate calls to either end or limit trophy hunting by restricting hunting's national level licensing or the import of hunting trophies.

Media and decision-makers have the tendency to frequently blend canned hunting with trophy hunting; however, canned hunting would only represent a very minute fragment of hunting. In fact, canned hunting has been condemned by an existing IUCN policy (IUCN Recommendation 3.093, “Application of the IUCN Sustainable Use Policy to sustainable consumptive use of wildlife and recreational hunting in southern Africa”)


Photo by: David Willman via 123rf


Trophy hunting would frequently be deemed as a legal and regulated activity under programs exercised by government wildlife agencies, protected area managers, indigenous and local community bodies, private landowners, or conservation/ development organizations.

Landowners and managers should deal with “hunting operators” to decide who will be awarded the hunting right, while an operator should secure the contracts with clients overseas and preside the hunting trips. The hunter’s payment should cover:

1.) The operator’s costs;

2.) Payment to the local entity; and

3.) “Official” government payments of different kinds that will help finance wildlife management and conservation activities.



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