Biodiversity and poaching

The illegal hunting and harvesting of animals is the second biggest direct threat to species after habitat destruction. It can have a devastating effect on the individual species and on entire ecosystems as well as on local communities. 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 growing threat to animals such as elephants and rhinos, as well as to smaller creatures, including certain lizards and monkeys.

The worldwide illegal trade in wildlife has grown in recent years alongside rising wealth in parts of the world where there is demand, coupled with increasing ease of trade through the internet. Poachers capture some animals live (e.g. birds, reptiles, and primates), so that they can be kept or sold as exotic pets. Others are slaughtered for their commercial value as food, jewellery, decor, or traditional medicine.

Populations of species on earth declined by an average 40% between 1970 and 2000 – and the second-biggest direct threat to species survival, after habitat destruction, is wildlife trade. It can also cause indirect harm through introduction of invasive species, incidental killing of other species. Animals can also carry diseases and parasites that might infect human beings. Additionally, imported animals can spread diseases and parasites to other animals in the destination country, causing serious epidemics.

The illegal animal trade has lots of moving parts, and every animal victim has a different purpose and value. But ultimately, animal trafficking only happens because there’s a market for it.

Nigerians Fight to Protect the World’s Most Trafficked Mammal | National Geographic

Pangolins are believed to be the most trafficked mammals in the world, and as four Asian species of pangolins become more scarce, poachers are increasingly turning to the African species to supply the trade. This short film, made in June 2019, before the pangolin became a household name, we meet the meet the bold Nigerians who are fighting to protect this gentle and vulnerable creature.

By the numbers: Illegal wildlife trade threatens species

Fifty-five African elephants are killed every day for their ivory. The illegal trade is being discussed at a wildlife protection conference in Geneva. Campaigners are calling for sanctions against Vietnam, accused of being a hub for ivory traffickers.

Shocking Undercover Scenes: Illegal Animal Trade – Indian Ocean With Simon Reeve – BBC

Simon learns about the shocking illegal trade in exotic animals in Indonesia and visits a pet market where many endangered species are up for sale.

Damian Mander: From Sniper to Rhino Conservationist

After a career in the military Damian Mander founded the IAPF (International Anti-Poaching Foundation) and applied military training and techniques to wildlife units in the hopes of protecting endangered species around the world.

Trace Dominguez – Does Hunting Exotic Animals Help Conservation

This video clip explores whether there are advantages to conservation caused by hunting wild animals.

John Kasaona – How poachers became caretakers

John Kasaona works in Namibia on an innovative way to protect endangered animal species by giving former poachers responsibility for animal care.

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