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Species affected by poaching

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Species affected by poaching refers both to the effects of illegal hunting and fishing or capturing of wild animals on certain species, and, in a recent usage, the illegal harvesting of wild plant species[1][2][3] The article provides an overview of species currently endangered or impaired by poaching in the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, and South-East Asia

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The leatherback sea turtle is globally threatened due to poaching for eggs, meat and oil[4] Poacher, painting of Frédéric Rouge 1867-1950


  • 1 In North America
  • 2 In Central America
  • 3 In South America
  • 4 In Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 5 In South-East Asia
  • 6 References

In North America

In the early 1990s, crimes against wildlife were rampant in certain parts of the United States, and poaching equaled or exceeded the number of animals hunted legally[5] As trophy hunting became popular, poaching activity, in particular commercial poaching, increased in the Western states Commercial poachers kill grizzly bears, moose, bighorn sheep, elk, mountain lions, eagles and snakes Domestic bear species such as American black bear are slaughtered for their body parts that are used for exotic foods, medicinal purposes and as aphrodisiacs Walrus is poached for the ivory of their tusks, white-tailed deer for antlers and meat, bobcats for their pelts, and bighorn sheep as trophies Elk antlers and seal penises[6][7] are used for medicinal purposes Paddlefish and sturgeon eggs are sold as caviar[8] Redfish, shellfish, trout and salmon are poached for meat, snakes for their skins, bald eagles for their feathers used in Southwestern art[6] Protected ridge-nosed rattlesnakes, rock rattlesnakes, twin-spotted rattlesnakes, Sonoran Mountain kingsnakes and massasaugas are illegally collected in Arizona[9]

Millions of protected plants are illegally collected each year[10] Plant poaching spans the illegal harvest of ginseng roots, rare orchids, endangered cacti, pitcher plants and Venus flytraps, and tree species such as aspen and western red cedar[2] Commercial poachers collect hundreds of wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year, in particular American ginseng, orchids and trilliums[11] Rangers seized about 11,000 illegally harvested ginseng roots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park between 1994 and 2004, and attribute ginseng poaching to the illegal domestic and international black market It is estimated that fresh roots of wild ginseng are worth $65–100 per pound, and dried roots about $260–365 per pound[12] Ginseng is also harvested illegally in Wisconsin[13] Goldenseal is suspected to be illegally collected in the Hoosier National Forest[14]

In 2007, it was estimated that parrot trappers capture about 65,000–78,500 wild parrots each year in Mexico, mainly by setting nets or by collecting nestlings from tree cavities About 50,000–60,000, more than 75%, die before reaching customers Between 2003 and 2006, Mexican wildlife officials did not issue permits for parrot trapping as legal permits provided cover for the illegal trade of poached parrots Illegal trapping of wild parrots affects most of the 22 parrot species native to Mexico including:[15]

  • Amazona: white-fronted amazon, red-crowned amazon, Yucatan amazon, lilac-crowned amazon, mealy amazon, red-lored amazon, yellow-headed amazon, yellow-naped amazon;
  • Ara: military macaw, scarlet macaw;
  • Aratinga: green parakeet, Pacific parakeet, olive-throated parakeet, orange-fronted parakeet
  • Mexican parrotlet, white-crowned parrot, orange-chinned parakeet, barred parakeet, thick-billed parrot

Commercial poaching of neotropical river otters for their fur is a continuous threat for Mexican populations[16] Bahía Magdalena is a hot spot for mortality of black, loggerhead, olive ridley and hawksbill sea turtles More than 600 sea turtles are estimated to be killed yearly inside the bay, mostly for consumption of their meat, which is considered a delicacy in Mexico[17]

In Central America

The solitary eagle is seriously threatened by poaching[18] Illegal hunting of Baird's tapirs is a major threat for populations in Costa Rica, Belize and Panama[19] In Panama, mammal species hunted by poachers comprise white-tailed deer, red brocket deer, collared peccary, agouti and coati Geoffroy's tamarin, howler monkey, white-faced capuchin and common opossum are captured less often[20]

West Indian manatees were illegally hunted in the Port Honduras area in Belize at least until the end of the 1990s Poachers were suspected to come from Guatemala and Honduras Manatees were killed for meat, and their bones used for carving trinket and other souvenirs sold in local markets in the Yucatán Peninsula[21] In 2002, it was estimated that about 40 manatees are killed annually along the eastern Nicaraguan coast and in inland wetlands by poachers and incidental drowning in fishing nets[22]

The American paddlefish is poached for its eggs

Other species poached in Central American countries and in the Dominican Republic for being traded alive include Geoffroy's spider monkey, margay, ocelot, great horned guan, crested guan, great curassow, ocellated turkey, great green macaw, Hispaniolan amazon, Hispaniolan parakeet, red-billed toucan, chestnut-mandible toucan, raptors, rosy boa, rattlesnake, Galápagos tortoise, beaded lizard, green iguana, poison dart frogs and freshwater turtles Snakes, spectacled caiman, Morelet’s and American crocodiles are killed for their skins Black iguana, mangrove cockle and queen conch are poached for consuming their meat[23]

In South America

In Colombia the endangered helmeted curassow and the near threatened wattled guan are poached for their meat and eggs[24] The jacutinga population in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest is threatened by illegal hunting[25] The global decline of leatherback sea turtle populations is attributed to the illegal harvest of eggs and killing of egg-bearing females at nesting sites along Central and South American coastlines of the Caribbean Sea and on the Malaysian Terengganu beach[4]

In Sub-Saharan Africa

The population of the critically endangered Black rhinoceros, inhabiting most of Sub-Saharan Africa, was estimated to have been about 100,000 in 1960 and has now dramatically decreased to only about 4,000, with poaching being attributed as one of the causes of this decline in population[26] The commercial poaching of white and black rhinoceros escalated in South Africa from 12 rhinos killed in 2004 to 946 rhinos killed in 2013[27][28] Rhino horns have increasingly been acquired by Vietnamese people[29] African elephants, lions, greater kudus, elands, impala, duiker, reedbuck, bushbuck, bushpig, common warthog, chacma baboon and greater cane rat are illegally hunted for the bushmeat trade in Mozambique[30]

African elephants are being poached for their ivory tusks – the heaviest teeth of any animal alive[31] In October 2013 poachers were reported in the press to have poisoned more than 300 African elephants in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe[32] This UK Telegraph report republished widely by other newspapers was proven to be exaggerated, with a maximum total of 120 elephants determined by independent sources to be dead in this incident[33] Even so, conservationists have claimed the incident to be the highest massacre of animals in South Africa in 25 years African elephants continue to remain a high target for poachers and some researchers have estimated that African elephants may be extinct in 25–50 years in the wild[34] African elephants have experienced a 60-70% decline in population in two decades, 1979–2002[35] In Central Africa, 13,607 elephants have been poached in 2012 alone In East Africa, 8,515 elephants have been poached in 2012 alone

Illegal poaching for African elephants has increased noticeably in 2008 and correlates with an increase in price for local black market ivory and with increased findings of illegal ivory headed to China There is a probable species reduction of ~3% in 2011 alone[36] Estimates of over 25,000 to 35,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks in 2012[37][38] Despite ivory trade bans in 1989, elephant numbers continue to decline in Africa[35] Finding and monitoring the origin of illegal ivory found will significantly help in efforts to curb and suppress illegal poaching of African elephants[39] In Tanzania, 60% of the elephant population has been killed since 2010 and now number fewer than 44,000 individuals In Mozambique, 48% of the country's elephants were killed in the same period Local people kill elephants for cash, but penalties are often negligible In central Africa, militias and terrorist groups also poach elephants, often outside their home countries They hide inside protected areas and kill park rangers who get in their way[40] A 2014 survey estimated that at least 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory between 2010 and 2012 According to the survey, even if poaching stopped now, it might take more than 90 years for forest elephants to match their 2002 population"[41]

In South-East Asia

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  • Animals portal

There are more than 400 endangered faunal species in the Philippines, all of which are illegal to hunt[citation needed]


  1. ^ Power Bratton, S 1985 "Effects of disturbance by visitors on two woodland orchid species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA" Biological Conservation 31 3: 211–227 doi:101016/0006-32078590068-0 
  2. ^ a b Muth, R M; Bowe, Jr 1998 "Illegal harvest of renewable natural resources in North America: Toward a typology of the motivations for poaching" Society & Natural Resources 11 1: 9–24 doi:101080/08941929809381058 
  3. ^ Dietrich, C; Columbini, D 2010 "Plant Poaching" Missouri Department of Conservation Retrieved 18 August 2013 
  4. ^ a b Eckert, K L and Grobois, F A 2001 Status and distribution of the Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, in the Wider Caribbean Region Pages 24–31 in: Proceedings of the Regional Meeting "Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management" Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 WIDECAST, IUCN-MTSG, WWF and UNEP-CEP
  5. ^ Brinkley, J 1991 Wildlife Managers Claim Poaching is out of Control Rocky Mountain News, 16 December 1991
  6. ^ a b Musgrave, R S, Parker, S and Wolok, M 1993 Status of Poaching in the United States – Are We Protecting Our Wildlife Natural Resources Journal 33 4: 977–1014
  7. ^ Malik, S; et al 1997 "Pinniped penises in trade: a molecular genetic investigation" Conserv Biol 11 6: 1365–1374 doi:101046/j1523-1739199796125x 
  8. ^ Zabyelina, Yuliya "The Fishy Business: A Qualitative Analysis of the Illicit Market in Black Caviar" Trends in Organized Crime 17 3: 181–198 doi:101007/s12117-014-9214-z 
  9. ^ Fitzgerald, L A, Painter, C W, Reuter, A and C Hoover 2004 Collection, Trade, and Regulation of Reptiles and Amphibians of the Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion Traffic North America, World Wildlife Fund, Washington DC
  10. ^ Foster, S & Tyler, V E 1999 Tyler's Honest Herbal: A sensible guide to the use of herbs and related remedies New York: Haworth Herbal Press ISBN 0-7890-0705-3 
  11. ^ National Park Service 2006 "Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Threats to Wildflowers" US Department of the Interior 
  12. ^ National Park Service 2004 "Joint Undercover Operation Links International Black Market to Virginia Mountains" US Department of the Interior 
  13. ^ Hoffman, M 2013 "Ginseng: 'Good money, fast money' can lure poachers" WI: LaCrosse Tribune Retrieved 18 August 2013 
  14. ^ Meyer, S P and Parker, G R 2003 The population dynamics of goldenseal by habitat type on the Hoosier National Forest In: Van Sambeek, J W; Dawson, Jeffery O; Ponder Jr, Felix; Loewenstein, Edward F; Fralish, James S eds Proceedings of the 13th Central Hardwood Forest Conference Gen Tech Rep NC-234 St Paul, MN: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station: 281
  15. ^ Cantú, J C G, Saldaña, M E S, Grosselet, M and Gamez, J S 2007 The illegal parrot trade in Mexico: a comprehensive assessment Defenders of Wildlife, México and Washington, DC
  16. ^ Maldonado, J R E; López González, C A 2003 "Recent records for the Neotropical River Otter Lontra Longicaudis in Guerrero, Mexico" IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 20 2: 65–68 
  17. ^ Koch, V; Nichols, W J; Peckham, H; de la Toba, V 2006 "Estimates of sea turtle mortality from poaching and bycatch in Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico" Biological Conservation 128 3: 327–334 doi:101016/jbiocon200509038 
  18. ^ BirdLife International 2012 "Harpyhaliaetus solitarius" IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 20131 International Union for Conservation of Nature 
  19. ^ Castellanos, A; Foerster, C; Lizcano, DJ; Naranjo, E; Cruz-Aldan, E; Lira-Torres, I; Samudio, R; Matola, S; Schipper, J & Gonzalez-Maya J 2008 "Tapirus bairdii" IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 20131 International Union for Conservation of Nature 
  20. ^ Wright, S J; Zeballos, H; Dominguez, I; Gallardo, M M; Moreno, M C; Ibanez, R 2000 "Poachers alter mammal abundance, seed dispersal, and seed predation in a neotropical forest" Conservation Biology 14: 227–239 doi:101046/j1523-1739200098333x 
  21. ^ Morales-Vela, B; Olivera-Gómez, D; Reynolds, III; Rathbun, G B 2000 "Distribution and habitat use by manatees Trichechus manatus manatus in Belize and Chetumal Bay, Mexico" Biological Conservation 95 1: 67–75 doi:101016/s0006-32070000009-4 
  22. ^ Jiménez, I 2002 "Heavy poaching in prime habitat: the conservation status of the West Indian manatee in Nicaragua" Oryx 36 3: 272–278 doi:101017/s0030605302000492 
  23. ^ Traffic North America 2009 Wildlife Trade Control; CAFTA-DR Regional Gap Analysis Report Traffic North America, World Wildlife Fund, Washington DC
  24. ^ Liz, V S, Berrio, V, Lizcano, D J and Suárez, C A 2008 Perceptions and attitudes toward Helmeted Curassow Pauxi pauxi and Wattled Guan Aburria aburri in Tama Natural National Park, Colombia Boletín De Grupo Especialistas en Cracidos 25: 30–33
  25. ^ Rubim, P, Bernardo, C S S 2008 Distribution and status of Jacutinga Aburria jacutinga at Estação ecológica juréia-itatins, Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil Boletín De Grupo Especialistas en Cracidos 25: 18–23
  26. ^ Van Coeverden de Groot J, Peter 2011 "Conservation genetics of the black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis bicornis, in Namibia" Conserv Genet 12 3: 783–792 doi:101007/s10592-011-0185-1 
  27. ^ "Rhino poaching update" Press release Department of Environmental Affairs 19 December 2013 Retrieved 25 December 2013 
  28. ^ "946 rhino killed in 2013" Eyewitness News 19 December 2013 Retrieved 25 December 2013 
  29. ^ Milliken, T and Shaw, J 2012 The South Africa – Viet Nam Rhino Horn Trade Nexus: A deadly combination of institutional lapses, corrupt wildlife industry professionals and Asian crime syndicates TRAFFIC, Johannesburg, South Africa
  30. ^ Lindsey, P and Bento, C 2012 Illegal Hunting and the Bushmeat Trade in Central Mozambique A Case-study from Coutada 9, Manica Province Traffic East/Southern Africa, Harare, Zimbabwe
  31. ^ "Ivory Fever Decimating African Elephant" Science News 118 10: 151–151 1 January 1980 JSTOR 3965215 
  32. ^ Thornycroft, Peta 20 October 2013 "Poachers kill 300 Zimbabwe elephants with cyanide" London: Telegraphcouk Retrieved November 27, 2013 
  33. ^ Shelly Cox, Zambezi Traveller 8 December 2013 http://wwwzambezitravellercom/hwange/conservation/hwange-elephants-%E2%80%93-securing-their-future Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  34. ^ "Elephant massacre: A battle is being fought against poachers to save them from extinction" Expresscouk Retrieved November 27, 2013 
  35. ^ a b http://danstilesorg/publications/ivory/09EnvConsfinalpdf
  36. ^ "Web of Science – Starting New Session" webofknowledgecom 
  37. ^ "US to destroy ivory stocks in effort to stop illegal elephant poaching" The Guardian Retrieved November 27, 2013 
  38. ^ "Elephant Poaching Pushes Species To Brink Of Extinction" NPR Retrieved November 27, 2013 
  39. ^ Wasser, Samuel K; Shedlock, Andrew M; Comstock, Kenine; Ostrander, Elaine A; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew; Harpending, Henry C 1 January 2004 "Assigning African Elephant DNA to Geographic Region of Origin: Applications to the Ivory Trade" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101 41: 14847–14852 doi:101073/pnas0403170101 JSTOR 3373645 PMC 522003  
  40. ^ Christy, B 2015 "How killing elephants finances terror in Africa" National Geographic Retrieved 2 March 2016 
  41. ^ AllAfrica website The Monitor Kato J "Uganda: Elephant Conservation Activist Walks to Uganda" 12 September 2016 Accessed 12 September 2016

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