What Causes Poaching?

Poaching is primarily motivated by cultural, societal and economic factors. Some poachers hunt, capture and kill wildlife to collect certain organs or parts to use in medicinal practices or religious ceremonies. In some areas of the world, exotic wildlife is a primary source of income, and in other areas, residents rely on these species to provide them with food, clothing and even basic tools.

Poachers take plants and animals for many different reasons. In some cultures, hides, skins and other physical parts like tusks and skins are used for ancient medicines, earrings, necklaces, other types of personal decorations and clothing. Poachers collect plants and animals that are alive and dead; they serve value in both forms of existence. When captured alive, species are often transported back to facilities to be raised and reproduced. They may be kept and raised to ensure that their populations are stable, which in turn supplies poachers, their families and even fellow community members with a constant source of food and sustenance. However, they may also be sold for economic gain, proving quite valuable when sold on the black market. Many poachers operate year-round and may be involved in the exploitation of multiple varieties of flora and fauna.