Illegal trade and poaching of wildlife

Overview

Animals, both wild and captive bred, are legitimately traded around the world as food, clothing and d├ęcor, for the pet trade, science and entertainment. International and national laws and regulations control trade in many species, often in order to ensure that such trade does not affect populations of species, but also to avoid spread of disease that can be passed from animals to humans. Criminals, by contrast, trade animals around the world almost entirely for profit, with little regard for the dangerous externalities of their actions.

Often overlooked in favor of protecting animals, plants are also traded in vast quantities for medicinal and horticultural use, and may also be sourced from the wild or cultivated stocks. Collectors strive to find the most rare and therefore potentially endangered species and will go to considerable lengths to smuggle them across international borders. 

Major poaching, with subsequent organized trade and trafficking, also include tiger products, ivory from elephants and rhino horn. Elephant ivory typically fetch parices frontline of as little 50 USD per kg, more often 150-300 USD per kg, but up to over 1,000 USD at the end chain. In contrast, rhino horn, used in traditional chinese medicine for among other believed to lower deadly fever (with no documented effect), can obtain prices of up 50-60,000 USD per kg.