How Does Poaching Affect the Environment?

Poaching has a considerable negative effect on the environment because when one animal population declines at an unnatural rate, others can rise or fall as well. This may lead to the extinction of the poached animal and other animal and plant life in the area.

Poaching is the act of illegal or unsanctioned hunting of a specific animal species. There are two main reasons people engage in poaching: sport and profit. Some people desire to hunt endangered animals for the thrill of the challenge or to brag about killing a rare beast. Others hunt so that they can sell the animals fur or body parts on the black market for an exorbitant price. For example, the hunting of elephants is illegal in every country in which elephants naturally live because their populations are dangerously low. However, poachers hunt and kill elephants so that they can sell their ivory tusks illegally. This excessive and unregulated hunting leads to a drastic reduction in the elephant population.

Another example is the poaching of wolves. As dominant carnivores, wolves help to naturally control the population of the animals they eat, such as elk. Without wolves to eat elk, the elk population can grow to an unsustainable level as the food sources for the elk can also become scarce or extinct.