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Does change in IUCN status affect demand for African bovid trophies?



Graham W. Prescott. Current address: Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. Email:


There may be conditions under which trophy hunting can contribute to the conservation of wildlife, but there are cases where its sustainability has been questioned. Several studies have shown that humans place value on rarity, and this may fuel the exploitation of rare species and increase their risk of extinction – a process termed the anthropogenic Allee effect. Previous studies have shown that some rarer species may command higher trophy prices than do broadly similar but less rare ones. Increase in rarity (as measured by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status)) has also been linked to increases in demand as reflected in the volume of recorded trophy hunts. We hypothesized that change in rarity, as measured by change in IUCN status between 2004 and 2010, would have an effect on price if increased demand resulted from the change. Change in rarity was an important predictor of changes in price between 2004 and 2010. Bovids that became more threatened had larger increases in trophy prices than those that did not. Whether this has positive or negative implications for conservation may depend on how well managed the trophy quota setting systems are.