Ian Redmond - Born Free Foundation



Trophy hunting is a hot topic at the moment. Two news stories in particular are fuelling a heated debate: one concerns the legal killing of ‘super-tuskers’ in northern Tanzania, earlier this year in January, and more recently in April – these are well-known elephants whose lives have been studied for decades by scientists in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, where trophy hunting is not allowed; three have been shot and their bodies burned after the trophies had been removed, and more permits have reportedly been issued despite a 30-year agreement between the two countries not to give hunting permits for this trans-boundary population. The second is that the UK parliament has recently passed the second reading of a bill to ban the import of hunting trophies of endangered species. 


In summary, the unintended consequences of trophy hunting include:

  • Social disruption leading to increased mortality through fighting and, in some species, infanticide;
  • Increased flight distance and aggressive behaviour towards humans;
  • Loss of cultural knowledge and behaviour that may be critical to survival;
  • Killing the ‘best’ specimen is the opposite of natural selection, with long term evolutionary consequences if it happens over a long period.
  • Ecological impact – removing an individual in his/her prime removes decades worth of the ecological role of that individual.
  • Loss of natural capital and potential payment for ecosystem services.


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