5 Species Besides Elephants That Are Victims of Poaching

When someone mentions poaching — illegal hunting, often of endangered animals — I almost always envision animals you might see on a safari, like elephants and rhinoceri. Sadly, these marvelous monsters of the savanna aren’t the only animals targeted for slaughter. Other species, even small, seemingly insignificant ones, have been driven to the point of extinction by this illegal harvest as well.

Poachers aren’t always bandits wielding machetes; those whofish or hunt without a license; huntfrom a moving vehicle or aircraft; hunt on private or protected land without permission; or displace animals or plants that have been tagged by researchers are all considered poachers.

Whether through carelessness or criminal activity, the animals listed below have all become victims of poaching around the world.

ploughshare tortoise

Ploughshare Tortoise

This relative of the turtle sports a highly domed shell that’s light brown in color with prominent growth rings on each scute. “Found only in north-western Madagascar, the tortoise is critically endangered and only an estimated 400 adults remain in the wild,” reports EcoWatch. It’s unique look has made it a target of poachers who catch and sell themas exotic pets. Recently environmental organizationsthrew a “Tattoo the Tortoise” event to help. Etching a design on the shell doesn’t hurt the tortoise, but it does make them less desirable to poachers.

dead deer


Deer meat, or venison, is prized for human consumption. No longer content to harvest deer during legal hunting seasons,violent, organized gangs of deer hunters have taken to the English countryside. Usinghigh-tech equipment to track deer at night (which is illegal in the UK)this practice goes far beyond the norm, allowing poachers to take large numbers of animals on behalf of”unscrupulous” butchers, dealers and restaurants.

bluefin tuna

Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin tuna is a majestic fish, weighing up to 1,000 pounds and capable of swimming 50 mph. Its fatty meat also makes a fairly tasty piece of sushi, which explains why the bluefin has been fished to the brink of extinction. “With so few bluefins left in the oceans, demand has driven the price of tuna through the roof. Just four months ago, a bluefin weighing close to 500 pounds sold at a fish auction in Tokyo, fetched $1.76 million, or close to $3,600 a pound,” reports Eric Zerkel. And skyrocketing market price is all the poachers need to come calling.

red coral

Red and Pink Coral

Coralsare prized for use in jewelry, home decor and homeopathic medicines, and red and pink varieties are thought to be the most valuable. Just last year, two Tennessee men were arrested for illegally harvesting coral from the Florida Keys. In 2010, delegates to a world wildlife conference rejected asweeping proposal that would have closely regulated the trade of red and pink corals worldwide.



Also known as scaly anteaters, pangolin are the only mammals that have scales. Because these scales are made ofkeratin, the same material found in human fingernails and rhinoceros horns, they are highly prized by practitioners of Eastern medicine. Likewise, pangolinmeat is viewed as a delicacy in Asia and Africa. Although the pangolin trade was banned in 2000, poachers have continued to chip away at the global population. In early 2013, a Chinese fishing vessel carrying 400 boxes of butchered pangolin ran aground in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Philippines, where it was discovered bythe Philippine Coast Guard.

Images: Thinkstock,Hans Hillewaert, georgeatanassov,Danilo Cedrone, arturodonate, wildlifealliance


Clare O'Beara
Clare O11 months ago


Marianne C
Marianne C11 months ago

If a person were hunting (or fishing) for food for himself or his family, I could almost forgive him for poaching, as long as it were not an endangered species. But poaching for profit is as evil as trophy hunting. That's the very thing that virtually wiped put the American Bison.

There are other animals still that are poached: bighorn sheep, antelope, rabbits, game birds like grouse, pheasants, and wild turkeys, ducks and geese. Trophy hunters also poach bears, buffalo, lions and other big cats. The punishment needs to increase with the havoc the poaching of an animal adds to the endangerment of its species.

Heather T
Heather T11 months ago

My God Poaching is getting worse than ever.
Soon there will be none of our precious wildlife left. Then what? Back to cannibalization.These brutal poachers must be given heavy fines and imprisonment.They must be stopped.

Char-anna K
Char-anna Koblick12 months ago

I just can't believe that people are so greedy and selfish.

Philippa P
Philippa Powers12 months ago

Thanks. We must do everything we can to stop poaching and traffickers.


We must raise our voice against poaching and traffickers!

Debemos levantar la voz contra la caza furtiva y los traficantes.

Sandra Vito
Sandra Vito12 months ago


Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O12 months ago

Absolutely disgusting, what the human race has done to this planet. Yet, there are still so many people who think and make money their god, and don't give stuff about anything or anyone else. Upon saying that, we must remember that we are majority, they are the minority, and we together will not stop fighting and being a voice for these animals. Changes are happening every day.

Rosemary R

Beth thank you for enlightening us on the animals that are also being poached! Some I was aware of and some not so much however thanks to you, I know and will advocate on their behalf.

Marija Mohoric
Marija Mabout a year ago