A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos


Tro­phy hunt­ing is unlikely to affect evolution

pub­lished 14 Octo­ber 2017 | mod­i­fied 14 Octo­ber 2017

Red deer stagIn recent years, there has been grow­ing con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the evo­lu­tion­ary effects of tro­phy hunt­ing in big game ani­mals world­wide. Hunt­ing ani­mals with spe­cific traits has led some to argue that such selec­tion can cause evo­lu­tion­ary change that may be detri­men­tal to the species, espe­cially if those traits are related pos­i­tively to indi­vid­ual fit­ness. An arti­cle pub­lished on 4 Octo­ber in the Jour­nal of Wildlife Man­age­ment explains why the removal of males pos­sess­ing large horns and antlers does not inevitably cause harm­ful arti­fi­cial selection.

James Hef­felfin­ger, author of the arti­cle, notes that there are numer­ous obsta­cles that ame­lio­rate, neu­tral­ize, or dilute the effects of hunter selec­tion, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult for hunters to cause population-​level changes in the sizes of horns and antlers.

Some writ­ers, both in pop­u­lar media and the sci­en­tific lit­er­a­ture, have exag­ger­ated the effects of tro­phy hunt­ing on the gene pool far beyond what the data show.

James Hef­felfin­ger, author, Ari­zona Game and Fish Depart­ment, Phoenix, Ari­zona, USA

The con­cept of tro­phy hunters caus­ing harm­ful evo­lu­tion­ary change to the very species they value has been a flawed, but irre­sistible, sto­ry­line for many reporters and researchers,” Hef­felfin­ger added.

(Source: Wiley press releases, 04.10.2017)

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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