Each year, hundreds of thousands of animals and plants are traded internationally. These animals might be prized for their meat,


Each year, hundreds of thousands of animals and plants are traded internationally. These animals might be prized for their meat, skins, feathers, or tusks. Other animals are purchased as pets. Parts of some animals and plants are also used in medicines.
Most international trade is allowed, but some of it is not. Some nations have laws against certain trade. These laws aim to protect endangered species. But such laws are difficult to enforce. Poaching often takes place in remote areas. Poachers hide, and sneak species across borders. In addition, many nations lack the money to pay people to catch traffickers.
Why do people trade species—even endangered ones?They do it for money. People may harvest species to sell them for cash. They may trade them for items they need. Or they may sell or trade the animals’ parts. Many people who do this live in areas where it is difficult to make a living. The very fact that endangered species are rare makes them and their parts more valuable. Trade continues because there are paying customers. There is a demand for the products that are traded, even if those products are harvested unlawfully.
Illegal trafficking can have terrible results for species. Poaching can quickly reduce a species’ population. As you read on page 1, a species can easily become endangered. It can take only a few decades of poaching.


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