Poverty, poaching and trafficking: what are the links?

Poverty, poaching and trafficking: what are the links?

This paper looks into the links between poverty, poaching and trafficking, indicating that this subject has been under-researched and poorly understood.

The paper admits that there is little hard evidence to support the claim that poaching occurs because of poverty, yet the authors state they are confident the links are there.

The document points that it is difficult to collect clear and detailed data on poaching precisely because of its illicit nature, and its frequent linkage with conflict zones, which makes research even more challenging. Nevertheless, the paper draws the following key findings:

  • poaching in Sub Saharan African was produced via the historical legacy of colonialism
  • poverty is directly and indirectly linked to poaching and trafficking of ivory and rhino horn from Sub-Saharan Africa
  • there are different types of poachers, and they require different policy responses
  • there are direct links between conflict zones, illegal killing of wildlife, trafficking and poverty

The authors conclude that a much better understanding of the relationships between poverty and individual poacher motivation is needed. Furthermore, they highlight the main policy responses to this issue, such as changing people’s behaviour via negative and positive incentives, the development of tourism as a route to poverty reduction, and the legalisation of the ivory and rhino horn trade at the international level.