science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

Poaching of Endangered Animals

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Poaching of Endangered Animals

Most countries around the world have made laws to stop or limit hunting of endangered species. A treaty called, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has been signed by most countries.

Though many animals are protected from hunting, it does not stop some people from hunting them illegally. This is called poaching. Poaching happens all over the world, because poachers can get a lot of money for their illegal game. They sell the horns, ivory, body parts, and skin of protected animals.

Even with game wardens hired to patrol animal preserves, poachers have the advantage. Preserves are very large tracts of land and there are not enough wardens to protect the whole thing. The other problem is that poachers that go after big game like elephants and rhinos have big guns and can be very dangerous. One warden cannot stop six poachers and might get killed if they try. In many places, poachers seem to be winning out over our endangered species.

Poaching does not just happen in Africa or Asia. There is a lot of poaching in our own National Parks right here in the United States. People steal cactuses, trees, tortoises, and even grass if they can sell it.  It’s a frustrating problem for those of us who want to protect our disappearing national treasures.

What You Can Do To Help

There are many ways you and your family can help stop poaching.

  • Never buy, sell or own anything made from ivory. Even legal ivory sales drive the sale of poached ivory and poaching. Remember all ivory represents the death of an elephant or walrus.
  • Don’t support coral reef poachers. Never buy coral for your fish tank unless it is been stamped with Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) stamp. This makes sure the coral was raised for aquariums and not poached from a wild reef.
  • Don’t keep exotic animal pets, even if you see them at the pet store. The exotic animal pet trade, though legal if regulated in the U.S., is not regulated in all countries around the world. So owning exotic animals drives the hunting and capture of exotic species. It’s best to leave wild animals in their natural habitat.
  • Spread the word!



Testing and Assessment

Assess content comprehension about Topics about Endangered Species with the Mutiple Choice Test.

Assess student knowledge of which animals are endangered with the Endangered Animal Labeling Page.

Use the Endangered Animal Coloring Page as a model to reinforce this knowledge.



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Use Teacher Login to show answer keys or other teacher-only items. has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.