Commercial Poaching

When plant and animal products such as ivory, horns, feet, and skins are illegally sold for monetary profit it is termed commercial poaching. Locally in the Victoria Falls area the most common animals poached for commercial purposes are elephants, but smaller animals such as porcupines and Guineafowl are targeted for quills and feathers. Recently the escalation of both black and white rhino poaching across southern Africa is of great concern.

Ivory is the most common animal product poached for commercial purposes. The demand for ivory in the Middle East and Far East is the largest reason for the poaching. Unfortunately, it is usually poverty stricken people that poach for commercial purposes, and yet they see the smallest return in the supply chain of animal and plant products.

Elephants are often poached for their tusks, skins, feet and hair. Their tusks are sold for the ivory which is often used to be carved into artefacts in the Far East. The skins are sold for leather, the feet are sold and used as footstools and umbrella holders, while their hair is used to make bangle bracelets.

In the Victoria Falls area, a great deal of pressure comes from elephants feeding and drinking along the Zambezi River margins. Unfortunately, elephants shot in this region are difficult to recover and the poachers often end up having shot an elephant that they cannot get to.

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