Poaching, as defined by Webster, is the illegal practice of trespassing on another's property to hunt or steal game without the landowner's permission. Today, that definition seems slightly vague as the nature of poaching has changed drastically in recent years. Poaching is an ever growing epidemic that plagues every continent of this world. Animals of every type are pursued for a variety of economic reasons despite the ecological consequences associated with disrupting the natural order of life in the animal kingdom. While efforts taken to stop illegal hunting are noteworthy, these efforts seem futile as those who pursue the poachers are frequently outmanned and outgunned.
Many environmental extremists view poachers as lawless criminals who, some believe, should be shot at the first hint of aggression towards animals or trespass in protected areas. In fact, most of the poachers are poor villagers who harvest bush-meat (meat obtained from the illegal hunting of rare animals) in order to make a living and support their families. The reason there are so many poachers hunting rare animals is that high society will often pay three to four times more for the delicacy of rare meat than they would pay for regular pork or beef (Turner, Fred.). With such a profit to be made, few realize the harm that is actually being done. When caught in the act, many poachers are so desperate to protect their livelihood that they will often fire upon and flee law enforcement agencies. Bush-meat is not the only resource taken by the poachers. In fact, next to drugs, weapons and diamonds, reptiles are the fourth most traded illegal item. Exotic reptiles are frequently captured for the pet trade (Huxley, Julian.). Elephants and gorillas are also prime targets for poachers. The ivory that poachers can obtain from the tusks of elephants are sold at a very high price due to the fact that the only ivory that is technically legal is that taken from the tusks of woolly...
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