Trophy hunting is very distinct from regular predatorial hunting. Instead of the animal being killed for its nutritious benefit, it is killed to gather body parts that are considered valuable, the so-called trophies. Unfortunately, some of the aforementioned trophies are of uttermost importance for the reproductive behavior and success of an individual. For example in elephants, rhinos and elk, large tusks, horns, and antlers are used both to fight competing males, and by females to choose who they are going to mate with. This leaves the heavily poached populations in a particularly difficult position: while hunting might negatively impact the survivorship of individuals with large trophies (increased mortality rate), individuals with smaller trophies or without them (the survivors) have a low reproductive success (decreased fertility rate). Trophy size is highly heritable, with male offspring closely resembling their fathers in that regard, suggesting that trophy size can evolve through time.

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