kids encyclopedia robot

Poaching facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
White rhino at watering hole in the morning
White rhino at the watering hole

Poaching is the illegal hunting, killing or capturing of animals. People poach because animal products, such as hide, ivory, horn, teeth and bone, are sold to dealers who make clothes, jewelry and other materials from them. The poaching causes various effects, its most direct impact is extinction, either globally or within a given locality. The conclusion is that no matter the reason why an animal is killed, all types of hunting or poaching have led to extinction of species, and if uncontrolled many more animals will become extinct.

Poachers catch Indian tigers with steel traps. This is against the law. After trapping a tiger, they kill it and sell the body parts for money. Like the rhino, the tiger is a very endangered species. If the killing does not end, they both face extinction (all of that type of animal dies). Extinction means that someday there may be no Indian tigers or rhinos left on earth.

Effects of poaching

Rhino Killings
Memorial to rhinos killed by poachers near St Lucia Estuary, South Africa

The detrimental effects of poaching can include:

  • Defaunation of forests: predators, herbivores and fruit-eating vertebrates cannot recover as fast as they are removed from a forest; as their populations decline, the pattern of seed predation and dispersal is altered; tree species with large seeds progressively dominate a forest, while small-seeded plant species become locally extinct.
  • Reduction of animal populations in the wild and possible extinction.
  • The effective size of protected areas is reduced as poachers use the edges of these areas as open-access resources.
  • Wildlife tourism destinations face a negative publicity; those holding a permit for wildlife-based land uses, tourism-based tour and lodging operators lose income; employment opportunities are reduced.
  • Emergence of zoonotic diseases caused by transmission of highly variable retrovirus chains:


The body parts of many animals, such as tigers and rhinoceroses, are traditionally believed in some cultures to have certain positive effects on the human body, including increasing virility and curing cancer. These parts are sold in areas where these beliefs are practiced – mostly Asian countries particularly Vietnam and China – on the black market. Such alternative medicial beliefs are pseudoscientific and are not supported by evidence-based medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine often incorporates ingredients from all parts of plants, the leaf, stem, flower, root, and also ingredients from animals and minerals. The use of parts of endangered species (such as seahorses, rhinoceros horns, binturong, pangolin scales and tiger bones and claws) has created controversy and resulted in a black market of poachers. Deep-seated cultural beliefs in the potency of tiger parts are so prevalent across China and other east Asian countries that laws protecting even critically endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger fail to stop the display and sale of these items in open markets, according to a 2008 report from TRAFFIC.

Rhino populations face extinction because of demand in Asia (for traditional medicine and as a luxury item) and in the Middle East (where horns are used for decoration). A sharp surge in demand for rhino horn in Vietnam was attributed to rumors that the horn cured cancer, though this has no basis in science. In 2012, one kilogram of crushed rhino horn has sold for as much as $60,000, more expensive than a kilogram of gold. Vietnam is the only nation which mass-produces bowls made for grinding rhino horn.

Ivory, which is a natural material of several animals, plays a large part in the trade of illegal animal materials and poaching. Ivory is a material used in creating art objects and jewelry where the ivory is carved with designs. China is a consumer of the ivory trade and accounts for a significant amount of ivory sales. In 2012, The New York Times reported on a large upsurge in ivory poaching, with about 70% of all illegal ivory flowing to China.

Fur is also a natural material which is sought after by poachers. A Gamsbart, literally chamois beard, a tuft of hair traditionally worn as a decoration on trachten-hats in the alpine regions of Austria and Bavaria formerly was worn as a hunting (and poaching) trophy. In the past, it was made exclusively from hair from the chamois' lower neck.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Caza furtiva para niños

kids search engine
Poaching Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.