Africa is home to many different species of wildlife. However, there is one conflict that continues to be a large threat to the environment. Animal poaching is when an animal is killed illegally. This will often occur because the animal possesses something that is considered valuable, such as ivory or their fur. The constant hunting a certain species will eventually cause them to become extinct Although these animals may be making poachers a quick buck, the effect from getting rid of these species will change l the entire ecosystem, affecting every plant and animal it it. Without a stop to poaching, many more animal species will continue to drop, destroying ecosystems all across the continent.
Poaching is a huge threat to all wildlife in Africa. The increasingly high priced fine and punishment haven’t scared people off. The only reason for this is money. It is a high risk, high reward business. People are willing to pay top-dollar for authentic animal hides from Africa’s numerous large cat species and ivory from animals such as the elephants and rhinos. Some of these animals’ body parts are even used in different medicines. There is high demand in many coutries for exotict and rare spcies. The high demand allows these products to stay hidden from authorities. The trade market for these rare species are huge, resulting in millions and millions of dollars going to the hands of poachers. “The value of a rhino horn in illegal trade is probably 100 times the average earnings of a villager living next to them,” explains Christy Williams from WWF. The money they earn from their catches only encourages them to go out and do it again. They are also able to able to go out with better materials. All of these factors have attributed to poaching becoming the out of control problem that it is today.
Although it is people who are fighting against poaching, animals suffer because of it the most. Poaching is the greatest current threat to tigers, rhinos, elephants, gorillas and other African and Asian species (WWF). Because of poaching the black rhino population is down 96.7% since 1960, 35,000 African elephants are killed per year and lions are now extinct in 15 African countries (AWF). When these animals’ populations begin to decrease, the whole ecosystem is able to feel it. For example, when a lion population continues to decrease in a country its prey’s population the gazelle, will be able to rapidly increase. The overpopulation will change the entire ecosystem because the land will now have to support the giant population of gazelles. This could ruin a whole ecosystem by having it resources drained by overpopulated species.
Although it may seem that poaching has become an unstoppable problem, there are many organizations that are currently working for a resolution. Organizations such as the AWF, African Wildlife Foundation, and the WWF, the World Wildlife Fund. These organizations push for change by educated people in these countries about the effects poaching can have. Organizations like this are also responsible for the statistics and infographics about animal populations. People from these orgs have also tried to get in contact with as many different landowners in these countries as they can. Many of properties are right next to wildlife. If these landowners are able to stop poachers from coming onto their land and reports suspicious activity around them, a considerable amount of poacher may be arrested. However, it is uncertain how these actions will be enough to make considerable changes.