Nov 29, 2017

Trophy hunting hurts a species' chances of survival

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

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has only one novel coronavirus patient in hospital and just 22 active cases in the country, top health official Ashley Bloomfield confirmed at a briefing. He's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission," with no new cases reported for most of May, he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 5,494,287 — Total deaths: 346,229 — Total recoveries — 2,31,722Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pro-Hong Kong resolution at British university fails after Chinese student opposition

A protester waves the Hong Kong colonial flag during a July 2019 demonstration against the extradition law to China. Photo: Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A student resolution expressing support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement was voted down at the University of Warwick in England, after opposition from mainland Chinese students.

Why it matters: The charged politics of China's actions in Hong Kong are spilling over to university campuses thousands of miles away, raising questions for students and university administrators about how to protect democratic values.