what poaching does to the environment


Poaching is the illegal hunting, killing, or capturing of wildlife. This can refer to any animal that is being hunted or captured illegally, including endangered species, game animals, and fish.


Poaching is a serious problem worldwide and has devastating effects on ecosystems and wildlife populations. Not only does poaching affect the wildlife population, but it places the health of both people and animals at risk.

effects of poaching on human health

Effects of poaching on Human Health:

  • Poaching can lead to the spread of zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, and they represent a significant threat to public health around the world.
  • When animals are hunted illegally, they may be transported across borders or sold in markets without proper inspection or regulation. This increases the risk of disease transmission between animals and humans.
  • For example, Ebola virus is believed to have originated from fruit bats that were hunted and consumed by people in Central Africa. 
  • In addition, poaching can disrupt ecosystems and cause changes in animal behavior that increase the likelihood of disease transmission. For example, when large predators such as lions or tigers are killed by poachers, smaller predators like rodents may thrive and become more likely to come into contact with humans and their livestock.


Poaching can have an impact on the natural world both directly and indirectly. Many times, people don’t notice how poaching affects the environment until it is already too late.

Effects of poaching on the environment
  1. Loss of Biodiversity

  • People talk about biodiversity when they talk about the different types of organisms that live in a certain place. The illegal hunting of wildlife can cut down on the number of some animal species.
  • The lives of all animals in an area can be affected by poaching because they all depend on each other in different ways. There are a lot of big animals and birds that live on the ground and in the sky that have been affected. This has had a big effect on their population.
  • Poaching also means taking animals and moving them to a new place. As soon as poached animals move to a new place, they can become an invasive species.
  • Invasive species can change the biodiversity in a habitat in a bad way. For example, when predators move into an area, they can cut down on the number of prey animals there.
  1. Disruption in the Food Chain

  • Food chains are used in ecology to show how organisms get their energy from each other. Food chains are made up of people who make and buy food.
  • A producer is any living thing that can make its own food, like a plant or animal. There is a process called photosynthesis that plants use to make their own food.
  • It’s called a food chain when animals that eat producers and other animals in the food chain also eat each other.
  • Poaching can change the food chain by killing off the animals that eat them. This can change how organisms move energy around. In every corner of the world, people are hunting for animals that eat plants as well as animals that eat animals that eat other animals.
  1. Extinction of Species

  • Poaching is one of the main factors that lead to species extinction. Members of a species are said to be extinct when they are gone from the world.
  • It can be bad for the environment when species die out. The reason for this is that each animal has a unique job to do in order to keep a balance in their habitats.
  • Most animal species are now in danger because of more poaching in different parts of the world. It is very likely that an animal or plant will become extinct if it doesn’t get the help it needs.
  • In the long run, the extinction of certain animal species can have an effect on how the ecosystem works. This can make the environment change in ways that you don’t expect.


An ecosystem is made up of plant and animal communities, as well as their physical surroundings. At different levels, organisms in an ecosystem interact with each other. (Research source: International Wildlife Defense Foundation)

  • An ecosystem can only be healthy when there is a lot of different kinds of things in it. It can be bad for ecosystems when animals are killed, which can make them less healthy.
  • Some ecosystems in different parts of the world have been wiped out because people are poaching.
  • When keystone species are overharvested, this can happen, too. Keystone species are organisms that help shape an ecosystem, like trees. Without them, the ecosystem won’t be able to work properly because of underlying imbalances.
  • For example, if all predators in an ecosystem are killed, prey animals may eat too much vegetation cover to hide from predator


Illegal wildlife trade is one of the main factors that lead to poaching in most places. (Research from African Wildlife Foundation)

poaching and illegal wildlife trade
  • Hunting for animal parts, meat, and other things takes place. Poached animals are often sold on the black market.
  • When people illegally buy and sell things on the black market, they add to the destruction of global ecosystems.
  • Elephants are killed for their ivory. To make things like utensils, jewelry, and figurines, people use ivory that has been illegally taken from the animal.
  • Rhino horns are worth a lot because most cultures believe they can be used to treat illnesses. There are also gorillas that are hunted for the same reason, too.


There are a lot of animals that are killed by poachers every year. Poaching is still common on most parts of the world. In Africa and Asia, a lot of animals are killed for their meat and other parts. (Research source: Save the Rhinos)

poaching in asia

Poaching in Asia:

Javan Rhinoceros: This species was once widespread across Southeast Asia, but now only a few individuals remain in Java, Indonesia due to poaching for their horns.

Sumatran Tiger: The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered and has been heavily targeted by poachers for their skin and bones which are used for traditional medicine.

Asian Elephant: These majestic creatures have been hunted for their ivory tusks which are highly valued in some cultures.

Saola: This rare and elusive species is found only in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos where it is threatened by hunting and habitat loss due to logging.

Pangolin: These scaly anteaters are prized for their meat and scales which are used in traditional medicine, leading to severe population declines throughout Asia.

Poaching in Africa:

Black Rhino: This species was once widespread across Africa, but today only a few thousand individuals remain due to poaching for
their horns which are highly valued in some cultures.

African Elephant: These majestic creatures have been hunted for their ivory tusks which are highly valued in some cultures leading to severe population declines throughout Africa.

Mountain Gorilla: These critically endangered animals are found only in the highlands of East and Central Africa where they have been threatened by hunting and habitat loss due to logging, mining, and agriculture.

Lion: While not yet extinct, lions have seen significant population declines in recent years due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and poaching for their bones and other body parts which are used in traditional medicine.


Poaching puts African rhinos at risk. These animals are mostly hunted because of their horns.

  • South Africa has the largest number of rhinos in the world.
  • Rhinos are now classified as “critically endangered.” Less than 27,000 rhinos remain in the wild because they are being killed for their poaching.
  • Advanced hunting techniques are used by poachers to find and kill rhinos. This lets them kill a lot of animals, which hurts the rhino population.


Poaching is a problem all over the world that needs to be stopped. People who work for groups like the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) are trying to make people aware of the negative effects of poaching.

In addition, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has rules that help stop poaching. Wildlife conservation groups use GPS tracking to find animals. This allows them to protect species that are at risk.

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