Numerous research has been conducted on the effects of Poaching, and this paper will analyze these findings. Poaching negatively affects the communities, animals, and the environment. Research shows that poaching has dramatically increased over the previous decades and will continue to increase in the years to come. Poaching has the ability to destroy communities, cause extinction in animals species, and devastate environments. Communities are at risk of falling apart, because of the side effects of poaching.
Countless animals have been killed, and the killing will continue to increase until something is done to stop it. And poaching also has the power to dismantle the environments of these animals. The results of numerous studies all revealed that poaching carries many negative effects that will continue to be a problem until poaching is stopped. Effects of Poaching on Animals, Environment, and Communities Poaching is an immense problem, and thousands of animals fall victim to it each year, but what exactly is poaching.
The Encyclopedia of Earth (EoE, 2013) distinguishes poaching as, “the illegal hunting, killing or capturing of animals, a practice that occurs in many ways” (para. 1). It then goes on to describe the different ways of poaching, anything from trapping to shooting with an arrow. Poaching is nothing new and has been a problem for thousands of years, but has never been as serious as it is now. Michael Casey (2015), a writer for CBS News, reported that in 2014 1,215 rhinos were killed, which is over a twenty percent increase from the previous year.
These animals are being killed for various reasons, and many of these species are facing extinction. Research shows many areas that poaching affects, including: animals, environment, and communities. Numerous studies have been done and the conclusion shows that poaching will continue to affect communities, environments, and animals, until it is stopped. This paper will analyze current literature regarding the world wide problem of poaching. Effects of Poaching on Communities Poaching has been proven to harm not only the animals, but also the communities.
The extinction caused by poaching can have a negative effect on the economy of local communities tourism industry, as stated by Estrada (2014), an environmental writer for One Green Planet. If people go on a tour to see elephants, but no elephants are left to be seen, people will stop going on these tours and potentially people might stop visiting these places. Estrada (2014), explained “Furthermore, a tourist boycott due to local poaching is a real threat. A boycott could have a detrimental effect on a community’s economy since restaurants, hotels, rentals, and other attractions would suffer” (para. 4).
If poaching is not stopped, it could damage the vitality of local communities. Along with having an impact on the overall health of a community, poaching also poses a threat to the humans especially. Many things are considered threats to global peace and stability, but one that is often overlooked is poaching. As recorded by Carissa Wyant (2013), “Aside from the obvious and insidious harm to animals, poaching is responsible for fueling wars and is also posing harm to humans in a myriad of ways” (para. 2). She followed this statement by quoting Muhamed Sacirbey, the United Nations Ambassador, who said.
Poaching has fueled regional wars in Africa, particularly the Great Lakes region,” (para. 12). Wyant then used a quote she obtained from The New York Times, “Like blood diamonds from Sierra Leone or plundered minerals from Congo, ivory, it seems, is the latest conflict resource in Africa…” (para. 17). She used this to show that ivory was a highly valuable item, and that this was one of the reasons behind the increase in poaching, leading to the destruction of communities. Poaching not only destroys human communities, but it also has a negative effect on ecosystems and environments.
Effects of Poaching on the Animals Poaching can devastate animal species and in some cases lead to the extinction of that animal. One animal that has been close to the edge of extinction is the elephant. Kathleen Gobush (2012) studied the effects of poaching on African Elephants. She concluded that, “Poaching caused a decline of African elephants from 1. 3 million to 600,000 individuals between 1979-1987” (para. 1). Gobush (2012) stated that the main reason behind this outbreak in poaching was because of the elephant’s ivory tusks.
Estrada (2014) came to the same conclusion about the elephants, expressing that, “Elephants are killed for their tusks because, while it is possible to remove the tusks without killing the elephant, they are too dangerous to remove while they are alive” (para. 2). The poaching of the African Elephant from 1979-1987 brought them to the brink of extinction. The elephants are recovering slowly, but the poaching is still a problem and continues its threat upon the elephants. Elephants have been poached for hundreds of years, but the are not the only animal that has faced extinction because of it.
Along with the elephants, rhinos have also been poached and faced extinction. However unlike the elephants who are slowly increasing from the dramatic decline, the number of rhinos is continuing to decrease. The poaching and killing of rhinos increased over twenty-one percent in 2014, compared to the previous year (Casey, 2015). Casey then furthered the study and stated that, “Rhinos are mostly being killed for their horns, which can fetch prices as high $30,000 a pound…”(para. 5). In 2005 the number of rhinos illegally poached was below one hundred.
In 2014 that number rocketed to more than twelve hundred illegally poached rhinos (Casey 2015). This dramatic increase caused a negative effect that continues to put rhinos on the edge of extinction. For example, currently the Northern White Rhino has been poached and is facing extinction. Laura Klappenbach, a wildlife and animal expert, researched the Northern White Rhino. After learning more about this animal, Klappenbach (2015) expressed that “the northern white rhino population is estimated to less than 30 wild animals” (para. 5).
Poaching has greatly affected rhinos, and has brought them nearly to extinction. Effects of Poaching on the Environment Poaching causes an imbalance of animals in an ecosystem that can lead to an overpopulated species or lead to extinction of a species. Orietta Estrada conducted a study on the North American Gray Wolf when they were nearing extinction. “When the North American Gray Wolf was on the brink of extinction, due to poaching, the elk populations in Yellowstone National Park soared” (Estrada, 2014), causing a dramatic shift in the ecosystem.
She hen furthered the study and found that wolves were not the only species being affected by poaching. “With no natural predator, the elk nearly ate the aspen tree to extinction” (para. 7). The poaching of the wolves she is referring to, which put them on the edge of extinction, also created an imbalance in the ecosystem that caused the aspen tree to almost become extinct. Another study reported by the Record, in an online news story, showed how the poaching of Tigers devastated their grassland ecosystem. Tigers are the apex predator in their ecosystem so they are at the top of their food chain.
Tigers serve a vital purpose as they feed on their prey, keeping the ecosystem balanced (Record, 2012). Their results showed, “the effects of the resulting greater numbers of prey animals, mainly herbivores, influences the rest of the food chain and threatens to exhaust the food supply. ” (para. 11). The poaching of tigers not only caused tigers to almost go extinct, but it also destroyed the balance of the grassland ecosystem. Tigers are critical to their ecosystem and the killing of them can cause a harmful imbalance. Tigers, however, are not the only poached animals that dismantle an ecosystem.
Marine wildlife is constantly overlooked when discussing the topic of poaching. However, the effects of animal poaching greatly affects the marine environment. This was made evident by an article written by Record (2012), which stated that, “Prime examples of ecosystems that are on the verge of collapse due to poaching and the illegal trade of wildlife include marine habitats. The cycle begins with the overfishing of certain fish populations, such as tuna, marlin, cod and shark, the demand for the later resulting in particularly high returns for the fishermen.
In many cases, these species are not fished in sustainable ways. Popular unsustainable methods include the process of trawling or dragging, which catches more than the intended species of fish as nets are dragged either along the seafloor or mid-water. ” (para. 13). Even though it may be overlooked, marine poaching does happen, and can greatly affect the environment. Along with the poaching of smaller marine fish, poaching also affects sharks. The overfishing of sharks led to the loss of the apex predator and the overpopulation of smaller fish (Record 2012).
Once the number of sharks in certain regions have been diminished enough to significantly minimize their presence, the populations of their prey dramatically increase, as can be observed by rapidly increasing populations of skates and rays…” (para. 14). The online news story reported from Record, continued, saying, “which in turn eventually exhaust much of their own food supply, resulting in the degradation of their ecosystem. ” (para. 14). Just like the tigers, the poaching of the sharks allowed smaller prey to increase in population which led to a decline in their food supply.
Both the tiger and the shark are vital to their environments, and poaching causes a negative imbalance that could potentially lead to its downfall. Along with poaching destroying environments, it also has a negative effect on the animals themselves. Conclusion Ronald Orenstein (2013), author of Ivory, Horn, and Blood, stated that “despite furious denials by a number of governments (including Kenya’s), poaching has been increasing through the 1970s and has, by now, reached alarming levels. ” (pg. 8).
Poaching dramatically affects, three main areas in our world: the human communities, the animals, and the environments. Each area is affected in a different way, but each way is destructive and can have a harmful outcome. If no steps are taken towards the ending of poaching, research shows that communities will be destroyed, animals will continue to go extinct, and environments will continue to be dismantled,. Poaching needs to be stopped before the negative outcomes are too much to overcome.