More than anything, poaching has affected our natural resources more than we realize. This article details the effects of poaching, its causes, solutions, and every other piece of information that concerns poaching.
Poaching is defined as the illegal hunting or capturing of wild animals, usually associated with land use, and other uses, such as the poaching of elephants for ivory, and tigers for their skins and bones. So many other animals have been overexploited, from marine turtles to timber trees.
However, not all poaching practices are illegal, there are laws that regulate the activity, thereby reducing the effects of poaching. Poaching was once performed by impoverished peasants for subsistence purposes and to supplement meager diets.
What’s more, the effects of poaching practices have extended to virtually all animals, regardless of species. Animals, such as birds, reptiles, and primates, are captured live so that they can be kept or sold as exotic pets. On the other hand, slaughtered animals are kept for their commercial value as food, jewelry, decor, or traditional medicine.
What is Poaching?
According to Merriam-Webster, poaching means to infringe upon, especially to take something; also, to trespass steal a game and (animals) illegally.
According to the National Geographic Society, poaching is simply the illegal trafficking and killing of wildlife.
However, poaching in this context, poaching is the hunting or capturing of animals for several purposes like food, organs, skin, bones, or teeth, commercial value, sustenance, and land use.
Causes of Poaching
In recent times, poaching practices have increased as a result of the following:
- The existence of wildlife protection regulations could be overcome.
- The increase in price and value of animal parts, products, and pets.
- The human population could lead to habitat loss, logging, and expansion of human settlement areas.
- Religion. Like some Tibetan monks have been known to hunt rare creatures for their religious practices and culture.
- Criminal networks such as animal trafficking in some areas of the world.
- Exotic wildlife dishes. For instance, in Asia, some dishes are made from snakes, turtles, bats, and whales and sold to the elite in exclusive restaurants.
Solutions to Poaching (Ways to Stop Poaching)
There are so many ways to reduce, or even completely stop the practice of illegal poaching.
- Law enforcement agencies.
- Educating the public on the dangers and effects of poaching.
- Protecting the animals by recruiting more wildlife scouts.
- Toughening the law to reduce the demand and trade of animal parts and the selling of wildlife as exotic pets.
- Providing a sanctuary for almost extinct animals.
- Outlining where wildlife starts and ends to prevent and completely stop the practice of encroaching on land use.
- Outlawing the buying and selling of wildlife animal parts, especially in animal markets can magnificently reduce the effects of poaching.
Effects of Poaching, Its Causes, and Solutions
There are numerous devastating effects of poaching on the environment, climate, and ecosystem. The effects of poaching are too devastating that the effects could cost lives. Here are a few:
Extinction is one of the major effects of poaching by taking away some species of animals from their environment. Poaching threatens the whole ecosystem, because while these animals are targeted for various reasons, mostly monetary values, the more scarce they become, hastening extinction.
An example is an African elephant which has been hunted in large numbers and over 90,000 were killed between the years 2014 and 2017 for their ivory. Tigers, too, are almost on the brink of extinction due to illegal poaching practices.
2. Poor Survival of Animals
For most animals to survive, they need space to roam, swing from branches, and fly. Now, when these animals who need as much space to survive are captured, they are deprived of these privileges. And these animals tend not to survive in cages, suitcases, sacks, or boxes.
Even if they do survive, they suffer in their new and unnatural living situations. The effects of poaching are so bad on these animals that, when humans encroach on their land, the animals tend to also live in constrained habitats, making it difficult for the animals to roam freely, which directly inhibits survival.
Yes, poaching affects humans too. The effects of poaching have in tragic ways led to the death of so many people. For instance, in certain parks where security is maxed up, poachers tend to kill the rangers and officers, so that they can get access to the wild animals.
According to National Geographic, more than 500 rangers assigned to protect wildlife in Africa were killed by poachers between the years 2009 and 2016. An incident occurred n the DRC, at the Virunga National Park, where more than 170 rangers were killed in the same period.
4. Death of Humans
Then there are many ways that the effects of poaching could affect people- humans- and even lead to death. In Africa, rangers charged with protecting wildlife tend to be killed by these poachers to gain unlimited access to a certain park or wildlife.
An example is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park, at least 170 rangers have been killed during the past two decades. This is one of the most dangerous parks on the continent.
The effects of poaching could also lead to war, aside from the obvious harm to animals and the environment. Poaching is recognized to be one of the causes of war and poses harm to humans in various ways.
Poaching has directly or indirectly fueled regional wars in Africa, particularly in the Great Lakes region. Some of the poaching practices are backed by law such as The LRA, a group in Africa that is connected to a variety of violent “Human Rights” abuses, Including the slaying of Park Rangers butchered along with the wildlife they are employed to protect.
6. Extinction of Some Plants
Plants are one of the most fragile creatures on earth, and the effects of poaching also play a role in their growth or damage. Plant life can overgrow or cannot regrow due to the other species that were normally hunted by a poached animal.
For instance, the poaching of wolves for their fur can cause elk pop to grow at an unsustainable rate so that it will eat all of its food too fast, therefore not allowing the land to replenish. Now, when these plants are deprived, it causes the elk to starve to its death.
7. Economic Hardship
This usually occurs in local communities. One of the effects of poaching is mostly paramount in local communities that solely thrive on poaching. Local communities that are dependent on tourism are at a much greater risk because they thrive on this practice.
Now, the more animals are poached, the more extinct they get, hence the loss of resources to attract more tourists for more income. Economic hardships can devastate the community’s economy and the people who work at restaurants, hotels, and even wildlife tour guides.
8. Increase in Global Health Risk
This is one of the effects of poaching that is hardly seen, yet as delicate as it gets. Poaching and the subsequent trafficking of ivory occur alongside other crimes such as money laundering, human trafficking, and corruption, including the murder of park rangers.
For instance, In Africa, poaching has been linked to an armed militia. In recent times, poaching has as well been linked to the spread of viral and deadly diseases from wildlife animals to humans, threatening the survival of humanity. Some examples include the SARS, Ebola, and the Covid-19 pandemic of 2019-2020 that have caused thousands of deaths.
9. Imbalance in Ecosystem
You might want to ask how the illegal hunting of animals affects the ecosystem. Here’s how: For the ecosystem to thrive, there have to be predators and prey. Top predators prey on the population to prevent it from exploding and preserve the overall diversity.
As you know, many wildlife animals help maintain the food chain and food web balance in the wild. Invariably, when these animals are taken away, the ecosystem is disturbed and this could lead to the death of more animals and plant species due to the explosive growth of other species.
Poaching creates an imbalance in the wild ecosystem, especially when major species are the most targeted. For instance, if there are no gazelles, the grass will grow very tall, but the lions and cheetahs will go hungry and die. It is a constant cycle and food chain that should be maintained.
Another way poaching affects the ecosystem is through the loss of one species that makes up the chain reaction, leading to the loss of other plants and animals or even the collapse of the entire ecosystem.
10. Little or No Tourist Attractions
Tourists visit some countries, especially African countries, for their variety of wild animals. If they go extinct or reduce in number, there would be no more tourism and as such, the economies that depend on tourism will begin to crumble.
In conclusion, It’s important to remember that the earth really belongs to animals, and we’re just cohabitating with them. However, sometimes we forget that and start to hunt these animals for several reasons.
An example is poachers, who feel that it is okay to take and slaughter animals from their natural habitats because of certain reasons. The sad reality is that today, poaching still occurs, and it’s a massive trade that really needs to end.
However, without effort from all people getting involved, it’s unlikely that it will. We have to put in the work by playing our roles, both to the environment and these animals. Poaching, illegal hunting, and the harvesting of animals are the second biggest direct threat to species after habitat destruction. Below are a few more recommendations.
Effects of Poaching, Its Causes, and Solution- FAQs
In Which Countries Does Poaching Occur The Most?
Most illegal poaching practices take place in Africa. However, other countries, mostly Asian, practice poaching too. Countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and China.
Which Animal is Poached The Most?
Research has it that the Pangolins are the most poached animal in the world. This is because Pangolins are so unique. They are also known for their usefulness, which is another reason. The meat is in high demand, and its scales are used in medicine. This is the most highly trafficked animal on the entire planet. Other animals such as the African Rhino, the African Elephant, and Tigers are also highly poached.
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