poaching: see cooking.

Poaching is the illegal hunting, fishing or harvesting of wild plants or animals. It may be illegal because:

  • The game or fish is not 'in season', usually the breeding season is declared as the closed season when wildlife species are protected by law.
  • The poacher does not possess a license.
  • The poacher is illegally selling the animal or animal parts or plant for a profit.
  • The animal is being hunted outside of legal hours.
  • The hunter used an illegal weapon for that animal.
  • The animal or plant is on restricted land.
  • The right to hunt this animal is claimed by somebody.
  • The means used are illegal (for example, baiting a field while hunting quail or other animals, using spotlights to stun or paralyze deer, or hunting from a moving vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft).
  • The animal or plant is protected by law or that it has been listed as extinct or an endangered (see for example the Endangered Species Act for the USA)
  • The animal or plant has been tagged by a researcher

Note that only wild animals can be poached. Stealing or killing domestic animals is considered to be theft ("cattle rustling"), not poaching.

Plant poaching is also on the rise. A prominent example is the removal of ginseng growing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is estimated that dried wild ginseng plants are worth more that $500 per pound on the black market.

Traditional medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine often incorporates ingredients from all parts of plants, the leaf, stem, flower, root, and also ingredients from animals and minerals. The use of parts of endangered species (such as seahorses, rhinoceros horns, and tiger bones and claws) has created controversy and resulted in a black market of poachers who hunt restricted animals. Deep-seated cultural beliefs in the potency of tiger parts are so prevalent across Asia that laws protecting even critically endangered species such as the Sumatran Tiger fail to stop the display and sale of these items in open markets, according to a 2008 report from TRAFFIC Popular "medicinal" tiger parts from poached animals include tiger penis, believed to improve virility, and tiger eyes. In Black Market, photographer Patrick Brown took a deep look at the illegal wildlife trade in Asia.

Slips of Authority

There have been many national and international actions taken against certain kinds of poaching and hunting. Hunting for Ivory was banned in 1989, but poaching of elephants continues in many parts of Africa stricken by economic decline. The Philippines have more than 400 endangered animals, all of which are illegal to poach. Governments have taken many steps to stop poaching.

Some species such as the sturgeon or paddlefish (aka spoonbill catfish) are listed as species of "special concern" by the U.S. Federal government, but are only banned from fishing in a few states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The species, which is being overfished for its eggs to make caviar is still allowed to be taken in all other states.

Addressing the problem

Some game wardens have made use of robotic decoy animals placed in high visibility areas to draw out poachers for arrest after the "animals" get shot. Many game wardens have a no-tolerance approach towards poachers, and will shoot and kill them on the spot.

Modern terminology

As of at least 1990 the verb is sometimes used to refer to the act of hiring employees who are already employed by another company (especially a competitor), orchestrated by a recruiter referred to as a "headhunter". The term has also been used in the scrap metal trade, when metal objects (cars, submarines) are taken in order to sell them.

See also



External links

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