Hunting is a hot topic right now, with opinions sharply divided over whether the Trump administrations recent proposals to roll back some restrictions on trophy imports from certain countries in Africa would be a good or bad thing for wildlife conservation, t Sas-Rolfes told environmentalresearchweb. To make sense of these debates, careful analysis of the impact of different types of hunting in Africa is much needed.

The Trump administration has delayed a decision on its plans to reverse the ban on the import of elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe. The ban was imposed by the Obama administration.

t Sas-Rolfes has examined how the links between economic incentives, conservation outcomes and institutions the formal rules and informal social norms that guide human behaviour evolve over time, with a focus on rhino and lion hunting. These animals are icons for trophy hunters and eco-tourists alike but are potentially dangerous and so incompatible with human settlement outside more remote rural areas.

People who are motivated by economic incentives sometimes adapt and respond to changing laws in ways that are counterintuitive and counterproductive to conservation goals, said t Sas-Rolfes. For example, bans or restrictions on trophy hunting might stimulate other forms of hunting and associated illegal trade to make up for lost sources of income.

Lion hunting attracted huge amounts of international attention in July 2015 when Cecil the lion, who was wearing a tracking collar as part of a study by the University of Oxford, UK, was shot and eventually killed in Zimbabwe by a dentist from the US.

The auction in the US of a permit to hunt a black rhino in Namibia in 2015 also proved controversial. Since 2012, Namibia has sold five such licences each year to fund conservation and anti-poaching measures....