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History of Poaching

An age-long Practice

       Before we delve into this immense topic, what exactly is poaching? Scientifically defined, poaching is the act of trapping and slaughtering wildlife on others’ premises. This massacring of the wildlife has reduced their once flourishing numbers to their present pitiful state as endangered species.

      The practise of poaching probably first begun millions of years ago, in the Stone Age when the first humans started to roam the world. Deprived of the knowledge of cultivating permanent food sources, they turned to the ready-made ones of the natural world, thus hunting was implemented to sustain their hunger. This could have followed through the ages, to even the tribal natives. The natives hunted the animals primarily for food and used the fur of the animals for clothings, items, medicine and such. It was now obvious that in years to come, widespread introduction of this practice was to happen. Commercial fishing, whaling evolved from their origins to what is now potentially threatening to any and all species of animals. Poaching of animals for their fur was most likely to have been originated by a group of Europeans venturing into Africa and liking what they saw, they went back to promote fur clothings and animal products extensively.

       One would never have thought a simple, seemingly innocent quest would progress into today's profit yearning industry. From stone age spears, to present day's improved gadgets, dynamite, deadlier traps laced with poisonous chemicals and heavy guns, animals are finding it tougher than ever to survive in the harrowing environment.

     In Africa, especially, poaching is a major danger to wildlife conservation. Poachers ignore laws protecting animals, systematically butchering them for profit. In order to stop poaching, African governments have created huge national parks that serve as wildlife sanctuaries. Some cover thousands of square miles. Among the largest are Salonga, Upemba, Maiko, and Virunga, all in Zaire. Kafue in Zambia is noted for its many hippopotamuses and black rhinoceroses. Hwange (formerly Wankie) National Park in Zimbabwe was established as a game reserve in 1927 and became a national park in 1949. Only a third of its area is open to visitors; the remainder is a strict nature reserve. Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is noted for its numerous wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles. The largest national park in Kenya is Tsavo, which contains typical animals of the country. In central Kenya is Aberdare National Park, which contains the widely known Treetops Hotel. Kruger National Park, where elephants, hippopotamuses, and white rhinoceroses abound, is the largest in South Africa. Addo Elephant National Park has a watchtower from which tourists can view the elephants at night. The greater part of Kabalega (formerly Murchison Falls) National Park in Uganda is a savanna, well wooded in some areas, with papyrus beds along the Nile River. Other large African national parks are Baoule in Mali, Gemsbok in Botswana, Namib Desert/Naukluft in Namibia (Southwest Africa), and Manovo-Gounda-St. Floris in the Central African Republic.

       However, all this precautions against the massacring of animals by the thousands by the inhuman poachers on the whole, are considered to have failed drastically, for the practice of poaching is still flourishing in Africa as it has been past, dating back to a few centuries ago. Old habits die hard, poachers increased their activities instead of letting the habit pass back into history. With the advancements in technology, poaching has now come back stronger than ever. In the past, animals were trapped in pits with stakes grounded at the bottom of it or hunted down with spears and arrows. These methods were inferior as the animals only died after a lengthy time and scavengers could spoil the trophies by gnawing at the injured animal.

       As technology progresses, the poachers could massacre the animals at a greater rate with more efficiency. Dynamites are planted at waterholes, and when detonated would blast the many animals into bits. Traps such as the mile-long trap line which consists of walls of thorns and gaps leading to planted traps, are now made fatal with the discovery of poisonous chemicals, and kills animals as big as big as an elephant within minutes, leaving the prized tusks highly valued as ivory for the poachers. Lastly, inventions of heavy guns such as shotguns and assault rifles, enabled poachers to snuff out the animals such as hippopotamus from their previously safe refuge underwater, riddling holes in their sides.

       Everyday, hundreds of animals are slaughtered with hideous cruelty in Africa. The site of poaching. Elephants, rhinoceros, leopards, cheetahs, hippos, the list of the poachers targeted victims can go on and on. If the massacring of the animals go on, we might be facing the horror of having an extinction of a species per hour. So we hereby beseech you to spare no efforts in stopping poaching and… …

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