After the global uproar over the death of a Zimbabwean lion dubbed Cecil, the hunting industry had a response: By killing animals, trophy hunters are actually saving Africa's wildlife.
Trophy hunting, the industry contended, gives the animals an economic value to local communities, which otherwise see them as hated vermin to be exterminated at all costs. So although some are killed by hunters, greater numbers are saved.
But one body of research suggests an alternative hypothesis: Hunting, as currently practiced, has hidden consequences that take a far greater toll on lion populations than people realize.
Craig Packer, director of the Lion Research Center at the...