New research suggests that trophy hunters are willing to pay more money for larger-bodied carnivores

A black bear stands by the edge of water waiting.

Photo by Alex Harris.

New research suggests that trophy hunters are willing to pay more money for larger-bodied carnivores.

Research from the Raincoast Applied Conservation Science Lab at the University of Victoria suggests that guided hunters pay more to kill larger carnivores, reflecting a desire that likely evolved because large carnivores served as impressive trophies to signal the abilities of hunters. However, these days killing large carnivores could act to deceive audiences, given the different the advantage modern day hunting guides and efficient weaponry provide compared with ancestral environments in which hunting behaviour evolved.

These findings by Ilona Mihalik, Andrew Bateman, and Chris Darimont, were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, offer new insight into hunter motivation, behaviour, and wildlife management. The evidence that hunters are willing to pay more to target large carnivores could help explain why they are exploited at such high rates.

If larger-bodied carnivores are generally more desirable to hunters, then conservation and management strategies should consider not only the ecology of the hunted but also the motivations of hunters.

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