Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shrinking horns case raises fears for hunted species

10.12.2003


A research team led by Dr. David Coltman of the University of Sheffield has discovered that hunting may permanently change the physical characteristics of the targeted species.



Dr. Coltman, of the University’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, is part of a team investigating effects of thirty years of trophy hunting bighorn rams at Ram Mountain in Alberta, Canada. Trophy rams are heavy, with rapidly growing horns, and are a valuable commodity.

Trophy hunting at Ram Mountain is unrestricted, being limited only by the size of the ram’s horns, and any ram reaching the minimum size can be legally shot. Eighty-five per cent of the rams shot since 1975 have been under the age of eight. This gives rams with rapidly growing horns little time to breed, as mating is generally more successful from the age of six, when rams can use their horns to fight for females.


By culling the trophy rams before they have a chance to pass on the gene that causes trophy characteristics, hunters are effectively wiping them from the population. As a result, trophy rams are becoming more rare and the general population of bighorn rams is lighter, with smaller horns.

Dr Coltman explains, “Our research shows that targeting a particular characteristic for hunting can seriously affect the appearance of future generations of a species. Basically, the sought after trait will become more rare as the genes for that characteristic becomes less frequent among the population. This can also be seen in Africa, where tuskless elephants have become more common in response to hunting for ivory.

“It is important to remember that this response in the bighorn ram population has occurred in only thirty years, a very short time in terms of evolutionary change. Our research has implications for the future of unrestricted hunting, and suggests that stricter guidelines are needed to ensure that hunters don’t further contribute to the decline of the very traits that determine trophy quality. These changes are extremely difficult to reverse and prevention is easier, and more effective, than cure.”

Lorna Branton | alfa
Further information:
http://www.shef.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change
24.11.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>