Basically it turns a once beautiful creature into a bag of skin and bones. With the poachers showing no remorse for the collapse they are causing.
The Wildlife Trade is driven by demand, profit and lack of protection.
Driving the trade is the demand by ordinarypeople who want an ivory statue, a snakeskin bag or any sort of product similar to this. People wanting these items mean poachers have to go and kill more elephants or snakes, these are then turned into garments or statues or whatever, the they are sold. And this demand is growing and growing, pushing more and more species to the brink of extinction. WWf believes there was a 7,700% rise in rhino poaching in South Africa between 2007 and 2013. In 2013 alone, Kruger National Park had 606 Rhino deaths. If this demand dropped, theoretically the number of creatures killed would drop as well because nobody would be making any money so it would become pointless. This is why education is so important to dropping the demand for poached and traded items.
And the money made in this business is unfortunately rather large sums. I guess this is why people want to go and poach, it gives them a job and monetary income.
Although the job they has may profit to them economically but its putting a lot of species in debt.
Then there are loopholes in protection. rangers cant patrol every single kilometre or mile of national park fence 24/7, this leaves opportunity and how the rhinos mentioned above were culled in a national park. People can hide behind so make different people and they can never really be caught.
The owner of a business that sells shark fin soup is behind the cooks, behind the transporters behind the poachers and so on. Plus a lot of wildlife trade is actually legal, moving goods made from creatures isnt against the law. It is only an issue when done in large quantities or endangered species are killed or traded. WWF set up a really cool campaign earlier this year about breaking down what believe a poacher to be. Check out the cool images below and see if they matched your ideas....
Those three images were found on http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/wwf-shows-us-the-real-face-of-poaching/
Now for some of these destructive impacts of poaching.
The wildlife trade is the second most destructive thing that can happen to a species, second only to habitat loss. But the wildlife trade can work in conjunction to worsen the impacts of other issues on a species. Say for example a group of tigers loses 5 individuals to habitat loss then another 5 and killed by poachers, ten individals have been taken from their group and their species. Accelerating population loss twice as fast.
Another impact is the accidental killing of animals. Traps set to catch a certain species can easily kill an individual of another. But the fact that it was not intended changes nothing about the fact you just killed, say the matriarch of an elephant herd, killing many others as they too depended upon her knowledge and guidance of ways to watering holes of migrational routes.
Many people depend on the wildlife for legitamate reasons too. Think of wildlife trade or poaching pf species in the oceans for example. Here, one species upholds the vital and fragile balance of many others. Like a fisherman fishing off a small boat for sardines of another small fish, he can no longer catch enough fish to support his family or to sell because too many sharks of predator species were caught to control other fish species which in the larger numbers reduced sardine numbers. Thus the wildlife trade alters lives and livihoods of people.
The very presence of wildlife trade, no matter on what level or scale is worrying and harmful in itself as it undermines the countries effort to protect its natural resources.
This harmful trade is putting multiple species at serious risk. These include the African Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Amur Tiger, Amur Leapord, Black Rhino, and countless others. You see, because there will be species out there that we dont even know are being poached because that is the secretive nature of this business.
That is an ultra cool infographic by WWF about what countries are doing to protect the species put in danger by this trade. And for those of you that live in countries that prehaps have a red or no colour you could try to instigate some change.
And despite my international reading im going to quickly point out something to all of my NZer readers. Hey guys! Since starting this blog ive realised something major, New Zealand is simply not the clean and green country we are made to believe it is. reckon we are exemptfrom the wildlife trade? Think again! You see there are countless examples in our recent history in 1993, 2004, 2010, 2011 and many more where birds, geckos and other endemic species have been unsuccessfully smugled out the country. Northland Green Geckos, Jewelled Geckos, Cockattoos, Skinks and plants have been siezed at our borders but many more would have gotten through them.
Heres a really cool website that will provide a bit of background and facts to accompany this article
http://www.cites.org/ CITIES is a site and an agreement between governments to ensure the international trade of animals does not threaten their survival.
And finally heres some food for thought.