What is a Poacher?

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  • Written By: Kathy Hawkins
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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A person who illegally kills or hunts wild animals is known as a poacher. Hunting animals may be illegal for numerous reasons — in some cases, the hunter does not have a permit to hunt the particular animal, or hunting of an animal is not allowed at the specific time of year. In many cases, however, a poacher will hunt and kill an animal that is protected as an endangered species.

A poacher may target any type of animal, but when endangered species are involved, the most commonly hunted animal is the elephant. A poacher will kill the elephant and cut off its face, so that he can remove the tusks from its body. Because the tusks are made from ivory, they are very valuable, and can be sold on the black market for thousands of dollars. Generally, the elephant's body is simply left to rot.

In other cases, a poacher will target endangered wild cats, such as leopards, tigers, and ocelots, because their furs are considered very valuable. Often, eight or more of a species must be killed and skinned, so that the pelts can be stitched together into a coat. These fur coats often sell for many thousands of dollars, though their sale is officially banned in most countries.


Many animals are highly endangered today because they have been targeted and hunted to near extinction by the poacher. Poachers often frequent countries with many exotic animals, such as those in Africa and Asia. They also cause problems throughout the United States national park system, illegally killing native animals like bears.

When a person steals or illegally removes a plant, flower, or other type of flora, he is also considered to be a poacher. In some cases, flowers worth millions of dollars have been stolen by poachers, who use the original flower to grow their own. Over the last decades, there have been problems with poachers stealing thousands of dollars worth of cacti and bear grass.

For the federal agencies that regulate wild animals and plants, it is often difficult to catch and convict a poacher, because the agencies have to cover very large areas with few staff. Often, a poacher will be caught at an airport, attempting to sneak on a large shipment of illegal poached items. In these cases, the poacher is frequently convicted and sentenced to time in jail.


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Post 6

Poachers are responsible for many animals and birds becoming nearly extinct. They kill more endangered creatures and soon one finds there is not a viable population of that species to reproduce. All of us lose a precious thing then.

It is heartbreaking to see what poachers do to a living creature. And for all you hunter-types (like the supposed 13 year old poster on here), your advice to animal lovers of, "grow the Hell up" is totally insane. The mature human being values all life forms and does not want any to be lost to human greed.

Hunters who follow the law and illegal poachers are two very different beings, so before you attack animal lovers, get educated. Maybe put down your rifle and give your brain a chance.

Post 2

im not one of those "i love animals" people. i am an avid hunter and enjoy the sport. hunting is part of the food chain. i hope to one day be a game warden and i think poachers are a terrible nusciance, but without hunting the population of whitetail deer would be out of control and that can kill more animals than any poacher. i'm only 13 but i'm not stupid and people should endorse hunting and keep it around for our children and theirs and so on. so you should support your local hunting federations and endorse hunting. the average hunter is allowed only 2-5 deer a year and poachers can take up to 13 at least in

one year. you should also support your local game wardens. Because of them there is plenty of game for everyone and all you "animals shouldn't be killed for sport people" i have 4 little words for you: "grow the hell up"
Post 1

poachers are the worst specimen of the human race; they are cold-hearted, and greedy. They give humans an even worse reputation then they already have.

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