Trophy Hunting is a type of hunting in which an individual kills innocent animals for recreational purposes. The hunters usually kill selected animals – frequently big game such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas, and bears – under official government license. The trophy is the animal (or its head, skin or any other body part) that the hunter keeps as a souvenir. It is a booming industry and is legal, albeit with restrictions on the species that can be hunted, where and when the hunting can take place, and the weapons that can be used. Allowing endangered species to be killed for sport is counterintuitive. It is part of a trend called "evolution in reverse" or "survival of the weak," and scientists have pointed out that sport-hunted populations of species like bighorn sheep now have smaller horns than those of 30 years ago, and after decades of poaching and trophy hunting giant-tusked elephants are a rarity in the wild. Additionally, there can be deadly impacts from a trophy hunts beyond just the individual killed. Research has shown that when a dominant male lion in a pride is killed, the social group is disrupted and a cascade of deaths can result within the pride: young males killed fighting for the dominant position, cubs killed when a new dominant male takes over, and females killed protecting their cubs. And finally the idea that trophy hunting brings a conservation incentive to local people to save a species is not only counter-intuitive, it is a logical fallacy. When a species' greatest value is as a dead trophy, its days will inevitably be numbered, just as they are when the value of their parts -- like ivory tusks, tiger skins, or rhino horn -- make protection from poachers nearly impossible. We should not be harassing the wildlife for we would not like it if the roles were reversed.
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