Hunters view antlers of deer bucks during a trophy inspection in Hungary. Photo: Zsolt Czegledi / AP

Species of elephants, lions and other animals targeted by trophy hunters and poachers looking for the biggest, most impressive horns and antlers, have less of an ability to adapt to climate change, according to a new study by researchers at Queen Mary University.

The reason: Impressive antlers, manes and other characteristics can indicate how well an animal is doing overall, which can also mean they are better genetically equipped for their environment. "They also father a high proportion of the offspring. But if they're killed before they can spread their 'good genes' around, this reduces the overall fitness and resilience of that population," the study's lead author Robert Knell told National Geographic.

Yes, but: Knell said properly managed trophy hunting can be an asset to conservation, which is why the group is not calling for a ban. One suggestion may be to restrict the age at which a trophy animal can be hunted in order to give them time to pass on their genes to the next generation and the population more broadly.

In other studies: David Coltman, a biological science professor at University of Alberta, said that the results from Knell's study using a computer simulation model matched those of his own on big horn sheep in the Rocky Mountains, where they've seen a 20% decline in the size of the sheep's horns due to decades of trophy hunting.

Big picture: The Fish and Wildlife Service recently lifted a ban on importing hunted elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia when it can be proved it aided in conservation efforts. The announcement sparked outrage, which led to Trump tweeting and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke releasing a statement saying permits would be put on hold while the decision about the ban was reviewed.

Go deeper

Bill Clinton slams McConnell and Trump: "Their first value is power"

Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) vow to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat before the next presidential inauguration "superficially hypocritical."

The big picture: Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993, declined to say whether he thinks Democrats should respond by adding more justices if they take back the Senate and the White House in November. Instead, he called on Republicans to "remember the example Abraham Lincoln set" by not confirming a justice in an election year.

Pelosi: Trump wants to "crush" ACA with Ginsburg replacement

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that President Trump was rushing to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he "wants to crush the Affordable Care Act."

Why it matters: Pelosi wants to steer the conversation around the potential Ginsburg replacement to health care, which polls show is a top issue for voters, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has urged the courts to strike down the law, and with it, protections for millions with pre-existing conditions.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' Armageddon option

A makeshift memorial outside the Supreme Court yesterday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Furious Democrats are considering total war — profound changes to two branches of government, and even adding stars to the flag — if Republicans jam through a Supreme Court nominee, then lose control of the Senate.

On the table: Adding Supreme Court justices ... eliminating the Senate's 60-vote threshold to end filibusters ... and statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. "If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021," Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) tweeted.