Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.

It may be illegal and in violation because

  • The game or fish is not in season; usually the breeding season is declared as the closed season when wildlife species are protected by law.
  • The poacher does not possess a valid permit.
  • The poacher is illegally selling the animal, animal parts or plant for a profit.
  • The animal is being hunted outside of legal hours.
  • The hunter used an illegal weapon for that animal.
  • The animal or plant is on restricted land.
  • The right to hunt this animal is claimed by somebody.
  • The type of bait is inhumane. (e.g. food unsuitable for an animal's health)
  • The means used are illegal (for example, baiting a field while hunting quail or other animals, using spotlights to stun or paralyze deer, or hunting from a moving vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft).
  • The animal or plant is protected by law or that it has been listed as extinct or endangered (see for example the Endangered Species Act for the USA or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and similar laws/treaties).
  • The animal or plant has been tagged by a researcher.

Note that only wild animals can be poached. Stealing or killing domestic animals is considered to be theft ("cattle rustling"), not poaching.

Plant poaching is also on the rise. A prominent example is the removal of ginseng growing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.[1] It is estimated that wild ginseng plants are worth more than $260–365 per pound (dried) on the black market.[2]


Traditional medicine

A seashell vendor in Tanzania sells to tourists seashells which have been taken from the sea alive, killing the animal inside.
The American paddlefish is poached for its eggs

Traditional Chinese medicine often incorporates ingredients from all parts of plants, the leaf, stem, flower, root, and also ingredients from animals and minerals. The use of parts of endangered species (such as seahorses, rhinoceros horns, binturong and tiger bones and claws) has created controversy and resulted in a black market of poachers who hunt restricted animals.[3][4] Deep-seated cultural beliefs in the potency of tiger parts are so prevalent across Asia that laws protecting even critically endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger fail to stop the display and sale of these items in open markets, according to a 2008 report from TRAFFIC.[5] Popular "medicinal" tiger parts from poached animals include tiger penis, culturally believed to improve virility, and tiger eyes.

Slips of authority

There have been many national and international actions taken against certain kinds of poaching and hunting. Hunting for ivory was banned in 1989, but poaching of elephants continues in many parts of Africa stricken by economic decline. The Philippines has more than 400 endangered animals, all of which are illegal to poach.

Some species, such as the sturgeon or paddlefish (aka spoonbill catfish) are listed as species of "special concern" by the U.S. Federal government, but are only banned from fishing in a few states such as Mississippi and Texas.[6] The species, which is being overfished for its eggs to make caviar, is still allowed to be taken in all other states.

Addressing the problem

Some game wardens have made use of robotic decoy animals placed in high visibility areas to draw out poachers for arrest after the "animals" get shot.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Threats to Wildflowers (U.S. National Park Service)". Nps.gov. 2006-07-24. http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/threats-to-wildflowers.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  2. ^ U.S. National Park Service - Joint Undercover Operation Links International Black Market to Virginia Mountains (Published: 01-07-04)
  3. ^ Brian K. Weirum, Special to the Chronicle (2007-11-11). "Will traditional Chinese medicine mean the end of the wild tiger?". Sfgate.com. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/11/TR10T8RBN.DTL. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  4. ^ frickin retard cientist.com/channel/life/endangered-species/dn3376 "Rhino rescue plan decimates Asian antelopes". Newscientist.com. http://www frickin retard cientist.com/channel/life/endangered-species/dn3376. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  5. ^ Traffic.org
  6. ^ "News Tribune". News Tribune. 2005-11-07. http://www.newstribune.com/articles/2005/11/07/news_state/0110705035.txt. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  7. ^ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, April 2, 2001

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • poaching — the crime of taking game or other specified beasts and trespassing so to do. It is criminalised by, among other enactments, the Night Poaching Act 1828, the Game Laws (Amendment) Act 1960 and the Deer Act 1980. Collins dictionary of law. W. J.… …   Law dictionary

  • poaching — /poh ching/, n. 1. the illegal practice of trespassing on another s property to hunt or steal game without the landowner s permission. 2. any encroachment on another s property, rights, ideas, or the like. [1605 15; POACH1 + ING1] * * * ▪ law… …   Universalium

  • poaching — poach poach [pəʊtʆ ǁ poʊtʆ] verb [intransitive, transitive] 1. HUMAN RESOURCES to persuade someone to leave an organization and come and work for you: • Wall Street firms have always poached each other s star brokers. poach from …   Financial and business terms

  • Poaching — Poach Poach (p[=o]ch), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Poached} (p[=o]cht); p. pr. & vb. n. {Poaching}.] [F. pocher to place in a pocket, to poach eggs (the yolk of the egg being as it were pouched in the white), from poche pocket, pouch. See {Pouch}, v. &… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • poaching — noun Trespassing in search of game …   Wiktionary

  • poaching — Synonyms and related words: abstraction, annexation, appropriation, baking, barbecuing, basting, boiling, boosting, braising, brewing, broil, broiling, catering, conversion, conveyance, cookery, cooking, cuisine, culinary science, domestic… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • poaching — poach·ing || pəʊtʃɪŋ n. illegal hunting of wildlife; process of cooking by boiling pəʊtʃ v. trespass, cross a border illegally; cook in boiling; hunt illegally for game or fish …   English contemporary dictionary

  • poaching —   Illegal removal of plants from their native habitat; common threat affecting the threatened status of cycads …   Expanded glossary of Cycad terms

  • poaching — In criminal law, the unlawful entry upon land for the purpose of taking or destroying fish or game. The illegal taking or killing of fish or game, Pocket veto. The act of the President in retaining a legislative bill without approving or… …   Black's law dictionary

  • poaching — Trespassing upon land for the purpose of killing and taking game there …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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