Poaching is the illegal killing or harvesting of animals, whether it results in waste or gain. It’s a problem worldwide, and though there have been many efforts to curb this activity, it continues to damage the wildlife population each year. Is it worse in 2022, or have things gotten better? Learning about this poaching crisis can help inform you about the correct way to hunt and fish and how to conserve wildlife in your region.
Here’s what you need to know about poaching in 2022.
One animal that has suffered at the hands of poachers over the past few decades is Rhinos. Today, poachers kill and harvest rhinos at a rate of one every twelve hours. This number is high, but shockingly, it is better than in 2015, when the average rate for poaching rhinos was three every twenty-four hours.
In Africa, the number of Rhinos poached reached an all-time high in 2015 at 1,349 rhinos in 2015. It’s an unfortunate figure, but rhino poaching has gotten slightly better since then.
When most people think of poaching, they think of big animals like rhinos and elephants. Many times, the motivation behind poaching these animals comes from the desire to sell parts of their body for large sums of money. For example, a pound of an elephant’s ivory tusks can sell for up to $1,500. While elephants and rhinos aren’t the only animals poachers seek out, they often have some of the highest consequences based on the desire to conserve their population.
One of the worst years for elephant poaching was 2012 when the number of elephants killed reached the highest number since the 1980s. Unfortunately, nearly 30,000 African elephants are killed each year for profit.
Tigers are beautiful animals well-known for their exotic fur and sharp teeth. These big cats are fascinating, and most people have a great respect for their position on the food chain. Still, poachers often seek out tigers because their skin and fur go for a high dollar amount.
1995 was the year with the highest level of tiger poaching to date. Fortunately, that high number of 121 poached tigers in 1995 has dropped to 24 in 2021. Although this is a solid decrease, there is still a way to go before poaching tigers is eliminated.
Many people think of large animals when they think of those most likely to be poached. However, unsuspectingly, the animal that falls prey to poaching is the pangolin. This animal doesn’t just exceed the poaching rate of others by a little bit; poachers kill roughly 27 million pangolins each year.
Why are poachers so interested in this animal? Many people who poach pangolins do so with the intent of selling its meat or scales on the black market. It’s an animal that tends to be slow-moving and easy to target, making it low-hanging fruit for poachers.
In 2019, however, one pangolin bust helped make a difference. In East Malaysia, authorities found products coming from over 14,000 pangolins at a customs facility. The entire haul of animal products found totaled $2 million in worth.
Poaching is a sad reality that affects many wildlife species locally and worldwide. Here are a few more facts about poaching that may help inform you.
Although there are a few primary species that suffer from the effects of poaching more than others, they aren’t the only ones. Poachers drive nearly thirty thousand species to extinction worldwide. Though many types of wildlife go extinct naturally, they were never meant to do so at the hands of poaching.
In some cases, the methods poachers use to kill animals fail. For example, many elephant poachers turn to poison-coated darts to kill their game. The sad fact is that poaching methods do not always work as planned and may result in animals suffering for weeks in pain rather than dying quickly.
For some animals, poaching has gotten better over the past few decades. For example, tigers are hunted and killed less today than in the 1990s. For others (such as Rhinos,) poaching is estimated to increase by over 300% between now and the year 2030.
Ultimately, the goal is for poaching to decrease each year until hunting, fishing, and capturing animals happens completely within legal parameters. Some say poaching will continue to rise over the next decade, but with hard work, justice will continue to be preserved for many species that fall prey to illegal poaching.