4 Most Common Animals Targeted for Poaching

One of the most important factors to natural ecosystems is biodiversity. Nature is a strange and mysterious thing, and it’s not uncommon to see certain instances or times of imbalance, however, nature always has a way of getting things back on track. When it comes to thriving ecosystems, biodiversity is one of the most important factors in helping to maintain the health and longevity of the ecosystem itself.

Every animal, fish, bird, insect, and even different kinds of bacteria, are crucial to making up what we know as natural ecosystems all over the world. Within ecosystems you see biodiversity fluctuate with certain natural conditions serving certain species in different ways throughout the year. Take the hibernation of the bear. While in hibernation, this colossal beast is not feeding on its regular forms of prey, but instead, these food sources are able to grow un-deterred by their natural predator.

However, when unnatural events start to impact species populations, this can be taken to the point of offsetting natural biodiversity. When a species is hunted to unnatural population size or even extinction, it can cause problems for entire ecosystems. One of the ways it does this is by interfering with the natural order of the food chain. The food chain in nature is one of the most crucial ways to ensure that populations are kept in balance and that ecosystems can stay healthy.

Poaching is one of the most pressing problems when it comes to biodiversity in nature. Not only is it inhumane to kill an entire species to extinction, but it has ramifications that spread out to affect entire ecosystems.

Tragically, when it comes to poaching, some animals have been pursued with even more heinous aggression than others. There can always be a diverse set of reasons as to why one species would be persecuted more than another. Poaching primarily happens because of the profit that can be brought from the hunting, killing, trapping, and illegal trafficking of these species.

Here are the top species that are most commonly targeted for poaching.


The first three animals on this list probably won’t be a surprise with Elephants sadly coming in at number one. No matter the animal, poaching is always a tragedy in any instance, especially when it pushes an entire species to near extinction.

Elephants have long been sought after by poaching for several reasons. One of the most famous reasons that the Elephant is poached is for their precious ivory tusks. This natural material is strikingly beautiful and is a popular commodity in the black market for making jewelry.

It’s estimated that up to 30,000 African Elephants are still killed by poachers on a yearly bases.


Most commonly associated with the atrocities of poaching, the Rhino stands as a species that is desperately in need of protection from poachers. This majestic beast has long been a target for poaching because of the supposed medicinal benefits of its horn. Now they are ruthlessly poached as the rhino horn has taken on the symbolism of power, success, and wealth.

This beautiful species faces possible extinction due to the senseless and mindless drive of poachers satisfying demand in Asian countries on the black market.


Rounding out the top three most endangered species due to poaching, tigers are also at risk of facing possible extinction if the war on poaching is not continued. It is estimated that tigers may be extinct in the wild within the next couple of decades. While there are conservation forces that have protected tigers in captivity, the proximity of the extinction of wild tigers is a historic tragedy.

Tigers have historically been poached for two main reasons. First, they have been poached because of their value on the black market, as their beautiful furs have always been a symbol of luxury and wealth. Secondly, they have been poached by local communities out of fear of their power and the possible danger they pose to both livestock and even local human populations.


Fourth on the list of most poached animals is the mountain Gorilla. These creatures are considered to be some of the most endangered species in the entire world and some estimates say there are less than 1000 wild mountain gorillas alive today.

Historically, the Gorilla has been poached as a source of meat. However, this kind of activity was never controlled or put under the scrutiny of any kind, which has resulted in the near extinction of this incredible species. Today, there are several efforts around the world to help keep the mountain Gorilla alive and to conserve this incredible species from extinction.


No matter where you live, you can help the efforts of conservation by fighting the effects of poaching. That may look like reaching out to local conservation offices, raising awareness, and even contacting political representatives. There are also foundations and nonprofits all over the globe that are focusing on trying to stop this heinous act of mindless aggression against nature.