What Are the Main Causes of Poaching?

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Poverty is one of the main reasons why people are motivated to poach, according to The Guardian. Corruption also drives poaching, particularly among corrupt officials and policemen. Traffickers and cartels also feed the poaching trade.

The Guardian adds that a sophisticated network of cooperation between cartels, the private sector and the public sector fosters poaching around the world. Voice of America notes that Chinese demand for ivory is a main factor that fuels poaching in Africa. The rising price of ivory also keeps the trade alive. The Chinese have high demand for ivory to make products and jewelry, and the rise of Chinese currency allows Chinese buyers to make lucrative ivory purchases on the world market. The demand for rhinoceros horns also drives poaching worldwide.

According to PBS, all five species of rhinos are on the brink of extinction, due to their coveted horns. Rhino horns are used as dagger handles in parts of the Middle East, and it is believed that rhino horns have healing properties in East Asia. The Huffington Post notes that poachers sell rhino horns to criminal enterprises to satisfy growing demand in East Asia. Ivory horns are used as aphrodisiacs and hang-over cures. Rhino horn wine is also popular, and these horns are viewed as highly valued gifts.