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The Issue of Animal Poaching and Its Effects

  • Categories: Animal Welfare Extinction Poaching

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Words: 1958 |

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Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 1958 | Pages: 4 | 10 min read

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Introduction, global perspective, national perspective, local/personal perspective, ​​​​​​​​​​personal response, references:, consequences of poaching, possible courses of action.

  • www.eniscuola.net/
  • animalfreedom.org
  • https://theproblemofpoaching.wordpress.com
  • www.onegreenplanet.org
  • www.responsibletravel.com
  • www.peta.org
  • www.bbc.co.uk
  • https://www.bandhavgarh-national-park.com/blog/tiger-increases-madhya-pradesh/
  • www.washingtonpost.com
  • www.voanews.com
  • www.nationalgeographic.com
  • www.brookings.edu
  • https://www.indiatoday.in/fyi/story/world-wildlife-week-why-is-poaching-still-a-crisis-in-india-266927-2015-10-07
  • worldissuepoaching.weebly.com
  • www.downtoearth.org
  • www.thehindu.com
  • https://www.slideshare.net/shantanu_leo/illegal-wildlife-trading-in-india
  • https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/poaching-at-national-park-in-mumbai-accused-confesses-to-hunting-birds/story-LFegv9v6QwPGd0TSHWNKWO.html
  • https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/5-locals-held-for-film-city-poaching-lens-on-trade/articleshow/67390670.cms
  • https://greentumble.com/the-devastating-consequences-of-wildlife-poaching/

Should follow an “upside down” triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Provides a foundational overview, outlining the historical context and introducing key information that will be further explored in the essay, setting the stage for the argument to follow.

Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper.

The topic sentence serves as the main point or focus of a paragraph in an essay, summarizing the key idea that will be discussed in that paragraph.

The body of each paragraph builds an argument in support of the topic sentence, citing information from sources as evidence.

After each piece of evidence is provided, the author should explain HOW and WHY the evidence supports the claim.

Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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animal poaching persuasive essay

Poaching has had devastating effects on these animals

Poaching is defined as the illegal hunting or live capture of wild animals that are not one’s own or are protected by law. This illegal trafficking and killing of wildlife involves large-scale, sophisticated networks—it isn’t just a few individuals hunting on their own.  

Poaching doesn’t only involve hunting—it also involves trapping and catching live animals to bring them into the illegal wildlife trade, often for exotic pets . There is also a difference between subsistence poaching and commercial poaching. Subsistence poaching is done by groups and individuals to fulfill their own nutritional needs, whereas commercial poaching is done for profit. 

As many individuals and groups rely on it for income, food supply, or products for traditional medicine, poaching is a complicated issue . Alternative, wildlife-friendly livelihood opportunities—like wildlife tourism—need to be supported to combat poaching at its source. We also need to better fund rangers , who work on the ground to stop poaching before it happens, and law enforcement officials who fight wildlife crime . 

Poachers around the world target animals large and small. Here are just a few animals whose populations have been impacted by poaching. 


Hunting of antelopes for bushmeat occurs in many places, even where it is banned. They are also poached for their horns, which are traded for traditional medicine, carvings, and aphrodisiacs.  

Reedbucks are one type of African antelope targeted by poachers. Mountain reedbucks are an endangered species; they’ve experienced significant decline from poaching and hunting by dogs. Bohor reedbucks , though not currently endangered, have been eliminated from large parts of their former range thanks to overhunting. Southern reedbucks are also frequently targeted because they move slowly and are a convenient size to be caught by hunting dogs. 

Impalas are another frequently targeted antelope species. In 2023, South Africa National Parks reported 115 known impala deaths due to poacher’s snares between January and October. There were also 48 zebra deaths, 25 kudu deaths, and 23 nyala deaths.  


In many countries, African buffalo are poached for bushmeat. Poaching has led to a significant decline in their population in recent years, and it occurs even within national parks. Wild water buffalo are also targeted by poachers. 

In 2023, South Africa National Parks reported that 135 buffalo died from being caught in poachers’ snares between January and October. This made up 35% of all reported poaching deaths in this period in South Africa. 


Rhino poaching is unfortunately on the rise— 7,100 rhinos were poached in Africa over a recent 10-year period. Because they can be very dangerous animals when faced on the ground, poachers fly in helicopters and target them with guns and tranquiliser darts from the sky. Then, with the rhino dead or sedated, they remove their horns with chainsaws—a process which takes only 10 minutes. Even if the rhino is not initially killed, sawing off their horns creates open wounds that are often lethal.  

In 2023 alone, at least 499 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone, which marked a rise of at least 51 since 2022. 

Rhino horns are sought out for traditional Asian medicine and as luxury items. However, no scientific evidence suggests that they have any medicinal value. Black rhinos are one species that have been particularly impacted—up to 96% of the black rhino population was wiped out from 1970 to 1990 due to poaching, and they are now critically endangered. Indian rhinos were poached to the point of being reduced to only about 200 individuals, though their numbers have since recovered to more than 2,000 . They are classed as vulnerable. 

Javan rhinos are less fortunate, having only about 76 surviving individuals thanks to poaching and factors impacting their habitats. They are classed as critically endangered. There are also only about 30 critically endangered Sumatran rhinos left. 

White rhinos have also been severely impacted by poaching. It has decimated the northern white rhino subspecies. There are now just two northern white rhinos remaining who are protected around the clock by guards. As a species, white rhinos are classed as near threatened. Southern white rhinos are classed as near threatened, and northern white rhinos are classed as critically endangered. 


Elephants have long been targeted for their tusks, which are made of ivory . Though the ivory trade is banned in many countries, it is still legal in places such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. Despite bans, poaching of African elephants rose in the early 2000s and peaked in 2010 —though since then, it has been on a slow decline. About 20,000 elephants are killed in Africa each year. 

Poaching is currently the number one cause of death for African forest elephants, which are critically endangered. It’s also a significant cause of population decline for African savannah elephants , which are endangered. Poaching is not only causing population decline but also affecting the evolution of the species—the elephants without tusks are now more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on their genetics, which means elephants are now less likely to have tusks than they were in the past. Tusks are essential for digging for water, lifting objects, gathering food, stripping bark from trees, and defense. Tuskless elephants experience serious disadvantages to their survival. 

Though they aren’t as often targeted, endangered Asian elephants face poaching too. Trade in Asian elephants’ skin and other body parts has increased in Southeast Asia in recent years, and they are also targeted for their tusks. 

IFAW is dedicated to protecting elephants from poaching by supporting rangers , mitigating human-wildlife conflict , and providing alternative livelihood opportunities . 

African grey parrots  

As they are high in demand in the exotic pet trade , African grey parrots are frequent targets of poaching for illegal trade. Since 1975, over 1.3 million of these birds entered international trade, and unfortunately 30% to 66% of grey parrots captured from the wild die in the process—so the total number impacted by this illegal trade is likely much higher. Today, they are listed as endangered . 

African greys have almost gone extinct in Ghana, which has lost 90-99% of its grey parrot population due to illegal trade. Their total wild population is declining by up to 21% each year. 

In 2022, IFAW supported an investigation into an illegal wildlife trafficking operation, from which 119 African grey parrots were rescued. In 2016, IFAW advocated for African grey parrots to be uplisted to Appendix I of CITES to receive the highest level of protection, which was ultimately successful. 


Apes—including bonobos , orangutans , chimpanzees , gorillas , and gibbons —are often hunted for bushmeat. While bushmeat once provided necessary food to local communities, it is now a massive commercial market, especially for consumers in Asia, who view bushmeat as a luxury product. This has increased the demand for bushmeat in Asia and Africa, where apes are found. More than five million tonnes of bushmeat are exported from the Congo Basin each year. 

Though many local communities have taboos against hunting apes like bonobos, poachers from other areas travel to the Congo Basin to hunt them. Bonobos are endangered . 

Critically endangered orangutans are often poached for the illegal exotic pet trade , especially baby orangutans, though adults are also killed for their skulls and bones. The exotic pet trade also impacts chimpanzees, which are endangered, and gibbons, most species of which are also endangered. It’s estimated that for every baby chimpanzee taken from the wild, 25 or more adult chimps may have been killed. 

The IFAW-supported Centre for Orangutan Protection in Indonesia rehabilitates orangutans rescued from trade. In 2023, IFAW’s partners Jakarta Animal Aid Network and Wildlife Trust of India rescued a ten-month-old male orangutan from traffickers . We also support the rescue and rehabilitation of bonobos at Friends of Bonobos in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and we’ve supported the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary , which rehabilitates chimps rescued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. 


Lions are illegally hunted by poachers for their body parts, including their bones, teeth, and claws, all of which are highly valued in traditional medicine and the illegal wildlife trade. Often, when they are poached, it is done using snares , which are extremely inhumane. Lions are classed as vulnerable . 

Ecotourism is valuable in protecting lions from poaching. Most countries in Africa where lions live have developed infrastructure to support wildlife tourism , which enables them to bring in significant revenue—an alternative to poaching. Outside of these protected areas, though, lions are often victims of retaliatory killings, because they prey on livestock and pose significant threats to the livelihoods of farmers. 

IFAW supported the training of volunteers in Uganda who work to prevent lion poaching. We’ve also worked with conservation organisations to protect the Ishasha lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park. 


Peccaries, also known as javelinas, are members of the New World pigs family and are found in North and South America. The endangered Chacoan peccary is hunted throughout its range for its hides and meat, despite being listed on Appendix I of CITES, hunting of wildlife being strictly prohibited in Paraguay, and the species receiving trade protection in Argentina. Poaching of the collared peccary is also a common occurrence. Though collared peccaries are currently listed as least concern, poaching could pose a threat to its survival if it persists. There is a lack of enforcement of protections in many areas, leading to the over-hunting of peccaries. 

Poison dart frogs  

Because of the demand for these species in the exotic pet trade, poison dart frogs are frequent victims of poaching and wildlife trafficking. Despite many poison dart frogs being bred in captivity, there is still a thriving trade in South America, even though local governments have tried to intervene. This illegal trade has pushed some species to the brink of extinction. 

Helmeted curassows  

Helmeted curassows are large birds found in Venezuela and Colombia. Classed as vulnerable , they are hunted for food and traditional jewelry; their skulls and eggs are sometimes kept as hunting trophies. The large casque on its forehead—its ‘helmet’—is used to make aphrodisiacs. Hunting of helmeted curassows occurs even in well-established protected areas. The species is listed under CITES Appendix III in Colombia, which means that the export of helmeted curassows is still allowed but requires proper permits. 

Leatherback turtles  

While adult leatherback turtles are not as often hunted, their eggs are frequently stolen throughout coastal communities. This is one of the biggest threats to leatherback turtles’ survival, as not enough turtles are born to replace those that are lost. Nesting females do sometimes get targeted for meat. These leatherback turtle products are thought of as aphrodisiacs. Leatherback turtles are listed under Appendix I of CITES, meaning commercial trade of leatherbacks is entirely prohibited. They are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. 


Tigers are poached for their skins, bones, and meat, which are traded at high values. In 2023, there were 56 known poached tigers, preceded by 39 known deaths in 2022 and 56 in 2021. However, it’s likely that there were many more tigers poached, as there are many tigers found dead without verification of poaching evidence. In Southeast Asia, tiger poaching numbers are also very high, and it is often done through snaring and poisoning. Tigers, which are classed as endangered, are frequent victims of illegal international trade. 

IFAW has worked with Wildlife Trust of India to strengthen the enforcement of protections for tigers by conducting snare walks, supporting rangers, and providing legal and enforcement support. 


All pangolin species are included in CITES Appendix I, and new regulations have recently been introduced in China regarding the trade of pangolins, but they are still one of the most widely trafficked animals in the world. Though there isn’t any scientific evidence to support their usage in medicine, pangolin scales are believed to have medicinal properties. Their meat is also consumed in some of their native countries. In the US, there is demand for pangolin skin for leather items like boots, belts, and bags— cowboy boots made from pangolin skin are one driving force behind the decline of these animals. Every pangolin species is either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. 

Though the trade in pangolin skin in the US has reportedly declined since 2000 , this is not necessarily good news for all other animals. Pangolin leather is now being replaced in many products with the skin of arapaima fish, which are native to the Amazon. A 2019 study found leather products made from both pangolins and arapaima on eBay, and 75% of such listings were in breach of eBay policy—and possibly illegal. 

In 2016, IFAW led the charge for protecting pangolins. As a result of our efforts, CITES upgraded all pangolin species from Appendix II to Appendix I. We also support cross-border collaboration to prevent the trafficking of pangolins and their scales. 

Glass frogs  

Glass frogs— half of which are endangered or vulnerable species—are taken from the wild for the exotic pet trade. They’ve been found hidden in shipments moving from Central America to Europe, and according to trade data and a collection of online advertisements, more than nine species of glass frogs are currently traded internationally. From 2016 to 2021, imports of glass frogs to the US increased by a whopping 44,000% .  

In 2022, glass frogs received CITES Appendix II protections. IFAW advocated for this decision among all voting member parties of CITES to ensure a final vote in the right direction. 

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5.5 tons of smuggled ivory burning

Poaching animals, explained

Illegally taking animals from the wild threatens many species with extinction.

Wild animals are being poached on a massive scale, with millions of individual animals of thousands of species worldwide killed or captured from their native habitats.

  Poaching poses a threat to elephants, rhinos, and other animals, as well as to smaller and more obscure creatures, such as lizards and monkeys.

Why animals are poached

Poachers sometimes kill or capture animals to sell them locally or for the global trade in wildlife . Wildlife trading is a major black market that has increased alongside rising wealth in Asia—a major consumer of wildlife—and the advent of e-commerce and social media websites .

Some animals, such as birds, reptiles, and primates, are captured live so that they can be kept or sold as exotic pets. Slaughtered animals, on the other hand, have commercial value as food, jewelry, decor, or traditional medicine. The ivory tusks of African elephants , for example, are carved into trinkets or display pieces. The scales of pangolins , small animals that eat ants, are ground into powder and consumed for their purported healing powers. The meat of apes, snakes, and other animals is considered a delicacy in parts of Africa.

In addition to killing for direct profit, poachers target animals to prevent them from destroying crops or attacking livestock. This happens to lions and elephants in Africa , as well as to wolves, coyotes, and other predators in North America and beyond.

The effects of poaching

Poaching has devastating consequences for wildlife . In some instances, it’s the primary reason why an animal faces a risk of extinction. This is the case with the African elephant, more than 100,000 of which were killed between 2014 and 2017 for ivory. Poaching has also had a catastrophic impact on rhinos, with more than a thousand slaughtered a year for their horns.

Poaching for the exotic pet trade affects an animal’s welfare in addition to its numbers in the wild. Most wild animals eat specialized diets found in nature, and they need space to fly, roam, and swing from branches. Captured animals are stuffed into boxes, suitcases, or sacks, and even if they survive transport, they often suffer in their new, unnatural situations .

Then there’s the tragic ways poaching affects people. In Africa, nearly 600 rangers charged with protecting wildlife were gunned down by poachers between 2009 and 2016 while in the line of duty. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park, one of the continent’s most dangerous , at least 170 rangers have been killed during the past two decades.

What’s more, poaching has been linked to armed militia groups in Africa suspected of trafficking ivory to fund their operations, and it often occurs alongside other crimes including corruption and money laundering. And poached animals can spread disease, such as Ebola and SARS.

Efforts to stop poaching

In addition to providing on-the-ground protection for animals, many countries make poaching an offense punishable by prison or monetary fees. Because poachers in Africa and Asia are often impoverished local people who make small profits in comparison to traders and kingpins, penalties for poaching wildlife are generally less severe than those for trafficking wildlife.

There are also numerous nonprofits around the world working to end wildlife poaching. Some of these groups have helped to promote alternative, more sustainable ways for poachers to earn a living. Another way people are working to end poaching is by trying to decrease demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife parts. If no one's buying the products, there will be no need to kill the animals.

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Home / Essay Samples / Social Issues / Essay on Poaching / Wildlife Conservation in Africa: Tackling the Menace of Poaching

Wildlife Conservation in Africa: Tackling the Menace of Poaching

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  • Topic: Cruelty to Animals , Essay on Poaching , Hunting

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