What motivates people to engage in illegal wildlife trade?

Introduction to Illegal Wildlife Trade

Illegal wildlife trade refers to the buying, selling, and transportation of wild animals and plants or their parts, products, and derivatives. This illicit trade is a global problem that affects many species of animals and plants, including elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins, and many more. According to the World Wildlife Fund, illegal wildlife trade is the fourth-largest transnational crime and generates an estimated $7-23 billion annually.

The Economic Incentive behind Wildlife Trafficking

The primary motivation for illegal wildlife trade is economic gain. The trade in wildlife and wildlife products is a lucrative business, with high demand from buyers in Asia, Europe, and North America. The price of wildlife products can range from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the species and rarity of the item. In many cases, the profits from wildlife trafficking are used to fund other illegal activities, such as drug trafficking and arms smuggling.

Poaching and illegal hunting are often carried out by people living in poverty who see wildlife as a source of income. They may be paid a small amount for their efforts, but the middlemen and traders who buy and sell the products make the real profits. In some cases, organized criminal networks are involved in wildlife trafficking, using sophisticated methods to transport and market the products. The low risk of detection and prosecution, combined with the high profit margins, make wildlife trafficking an attractive enterprise for criminals.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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