Causes and consequences of poaching animals

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Although it may seem a lie with the large number of predators that exist on our planet, the human being is the greatest threat to the life of the vast majority of animals. The business of poaching animals moves millions of dollars in the world and provides food and means to thousands of people around the planet, but it also seriously threatens the lives of millions of species and the balance of their ecosystems, among other problems. At Ecologista Verde we analyze the causes and consequences of poaching animals.

Causes of poaching

The causes that can be found to explain the reasons for the poaching of animals are multiple:

  • Level of economic development of a society.
  • An opportunity to earn a living in places where working conditions are extremely precarious.
  • The local and global market or the political and social situation of the country.

As we have seen, there are many reasons for the poaching of species, but there is one above all: hunting for the illegal sale of animals. In this case, many of the animals are sold alive, but they are poached in their habitats, and others are killed as raw material for various industries. The business of illegal animal trafficking it is, after arms and drug trafficking, the third largest moving money (according to the UN, 10 billion dollars a year).

The business of poaching

In this sense, poaching of animals is very important in areas such as South America, Central America, Asia and Africa (places very rich in fauna considered exotic in other areas) and its main destinations are the United States, Europe or Japan. Monkeys, snakes, turtles, iguanas, alligators or birds (mainly parrots) are trafficked. Parrots, for example, are sold live as pets (because of their great appeal to the public) or for zoos, wildlife reserves or circuses with animals. Iguanas, for example, and other species are sold dead to make shoes or handbags with their skins.

Brazil is one of the countries with the most poaching in the world, due to its great unique biodiversity. It is estimated that in Brazilian territory some 38 million specimens are hunted per year and 90% die during their illegal hunting and transport.

Other past and present examples are the whale poaching to obtain their oils and meat (which has brought the whales to the brink of extinction), the African rhino poaching to traffic with its horns, the extinction during the 19th century of the great giant elk due to hunting or the disappearance of the Carolina parakeet.

Consequences of poaching

There are many causes for the extinction of animal species, the main one is the destruction of their habitat (massive deforestation of forests, construction of roads, urbanization, dams, …), which forces animal populations to migrate increasingly to areas more reduced, losing contact with other animals of their species and, therefore, limiting their genetic variability. This fact, together with the hunting of animals, both legal and poaching, brings the species to the brink of extinction.

We can cite some of the main consequences of poaching animals:

  • The bird population has been reduced by 58% and the mammal population by 83%. Although hunting has been practiced for thousands of years, today due to the demand and access to technologies that never existed until now, hunting illegal hunting or furtive is much more excessive.
  • Animals feel very threatened by the presence of humans.
  • The soil impoverishes its quality, the nutrients are more scarce and pollination worsens with consequences on plant production.
  • The extinction of animals by hunting worsens the quality of the water and can increase the outbreak of various diseases and pests.

Hunting animals in an ecosystem alter the food chain that is formed within it and causes the entire ecosystem to alter its balance and, therefore, function poorly. That is, hunting influences both the animals that die, and those that do not: plants, prey and predators.


The business of illegal animal trafficking and poaching largely enjoys a great impunity, where both individuals and pharmaceutical companies for research, zoos, circuses with animals and even individuals, participate in a business that moves millions of dollars.

As in many cases, they are the third World countries exporters to the richest, since they have a natural wealth that is not found in other regions and have much more difficulty finding work and livelihoods. These species, after hunting them, sell them, and even trade them both dead and alive, for money.

If you want to read more articles similar to Causes and consequences of poaching animals, we recommend that you enter our Wild Animals category.

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