Organisms often rely on environmental cues to make behavioral and life-history decisions. However, in environments that have been altered suddenly by humans, formerly reliable cues might no longer be associated with adaptive outcomes. In such cases, organisms can become 'trapped' by their evolutionary responses to the cues and experience reduced survival or reproduction. Ecological traps occur when organisms make poor habitat choices based on cues that correlated formerly with habitat quality. Ecological traps are part of a broader phenomenon, evolutionary traps, involving a dissociation between cues that organisms use to make any behavioral or life-history decision and outcomes normally associated with that decision. A trap can lead to extinction if a population falls below a critical size threshold before adaptation to the novel environment occurs. Conservation and management protocols must be designed in light of, rather than in spite of, the behavioral mechanisms and evolutionary history of populations and species to avoid 'trapping' them.