Causes and Effects of Poaching

Background - Causes - Effects - Action - References

Every day we are losing hundreds of mammals belonging in endangerous species. This is mostly due to the lack of enforcement as well as the corupt goverments in the surrounding area. This can be seen in the developing countries that do not see the enforcement of poaching a nessicity. Eventhough we cannot see it presently, poaching does have long term effects. Poaching is detrimental to the ecosystem, and actually can hurt your economy. We are inhabitants of this great planet, and its our responsibility to sustain it. And we only get one.

Poaching Across The World
Figure 1: Poaching Around the World


"At the beginning of the 20th century there were 500,000 rhinos; in 1970 there were 70,000; today, there are fewer than 29,000 rhinos surviving in the wild ("Rhino Population Figures")." Poaching is the practice of killing or trading animals for economic gain or necessity and has resulted in substantial losses of many species throughout developing countries and throughout time. Every year more and more species are killed and sold in the black market for a quick profit; some of the effects include economic downfall or ecological instability and destruction. The major causes and effects of poaching need to be prevented through implementation.

Figure 2: Rhinos Missing Defiled


There are many causes for poaching. For one thing, poaching is hard to regulate and law enforcement is susceptible to bribery, making poaching an easy crime. For example, Lovejoy Sakala, a reporter of the Zimbabwean, stated that "Top police are conniving with poachers. They are taking bribes and not doing much to stop these illegal activities." Then there are many people who are so desperate for money and must poach to provide for their families. To continue, bushmeat, food derived from hunted wild animals, has long been a staple part of forest peoples' diet and since the 1900s they have increased eight-fold as an easy way to get food and survive ("Bushmeat"). Also, as demonstrated in 2008, African ivory, exotic birds, pelts, and tiger bone wine due to online transactions amounted to an extraordinary 3.8 million dollars; poaching was turning into a profitable business (Donovan). Some people have religious obligations and traditions that involve rare animals. A group of Tibetan monks illegally obtain or hunt rare creatures due to religious obligations (McLachlan). As one can see, causes of poaching are done for many reasons, such as food, religion, money, and even lack of enforcement.


The many causes of poaching create negative effects, mainly in the environment and economy. One negative effect on the environment can be seen with the decline in the tiger population. According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, tigers are in imminent danger of extinction. Tigers are a keystone predator, which means they help to keep the local prey populations under control, thus keeping the entire ecosystem balanced. The decrease in tigers will result in negative environmental effects, because large-scale growth of prey animal populations will influence the rest of the food chain. Without a keystone predator, its prey will grow exponentially. The large population of prey animals will consume all of the producers (plants), which will retard the growth of the ecosystem (Pedersen.

Figure 3: Poached Keystone Predators

A recent study conducted by Austin J. Gallagher and Dr. Neil Hammershlag of the R. J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami discussed negative effects on the economy due to poaching. They examined the problem of overfishing sharks and the effects on ecotourism, a sector which many developing nations rely on. The results of the study indicated that a single reef shark will net approximately 73.00-dollars a day in ecotourism, while that same reef shark will net a fisherman only about 50.00-dollars one time for the sale of its fins. With an almost increase of 50 percent in profit, developing countries are losing major money that can be used to actually help their population. Ecotourism is excellent industry for developing nations, but the industry cannot function without living animals (Pedersen).

Shark Fin
Figure 4: Ecotourism Not Being Utilized


Developing countries will continue to suffer the effects of poaching if the causes are not prevented. The problem of poaching can be prevented if people are willing to take action. Change is constantly applied to the world, so now is the time for change to be applied to the problem of poaching. However, it cannot be done without the consent of people willing to change. Enforcement through the government, the officials, and the peoples is a critical to create change. Doctor Seuss put it best when he wrote the Lorax: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Enforcement Officers
Figure 5: Enforcement through the Law


"Bushmeat." Lpzoosites. Http://, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

Donovan, Travis. "Illegal Wildlife Poaching: 7 Species Endangered By Internet Trade (PHOTOS)." The Huffington Post., 25 May 2011. Web. 08 Nov. 2012.

McLachlan, Sean. "African Governments Doing More to Stop Poaching of Endangered Species." N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

Pedersen, Stephanie. "Continued Poaching Will Result in the Degradation of Fragile Ecosystems." The International. The International Inc., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.

Sakala, Lovejoy. "Zambian Poachers Accused of Making Zim Council Lose Money." The Zimbabwean. Zambian Watchdog, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

"Rhino Population Figures." Save the Rhino. Save the Rhino International, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

"The Lorax Quotes." Goodreads. Goodreads Inc, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.